Underwater Moonlight is a 1980 album by English band The Soft Boys. Initially unsuccessful, it has gone on to be viewed as a psychedelic classic, influential on the development of the neo-psychedelia music genre, and on a number of 80s bands, especially R.E.M.. It is included in Robert Dimery's 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[2]

The album was re-released in 2001 as an expanded edition with nine out-takes from the main recording sessions and a bonus disc (...And How It Got There) comprising seventeen tracks from the Underwater Moonlight rehearsals at the Boathouse, a rowing-team clubhouse in Cambridge.


 [hide*1 Production


The album was recorded between January and June 1980 at Alaska and James Morgan Studios, London,[3] and during June 1979 at Spaceward Studios, Cambridge.[4]The London sessions were produced by Pat Collier and Mike Kemp, while the Cambridge sessions were produced by Spaceward Studios staff.[3] The recordings were done on four and eight track, and only cost £600.[5] The album was released 28 June 1980 on the Armageddon label as ARM1.[5]


The album was initially unsuccessful, especially in the UK, where over half the sales were exports to America;[6] though it has gone on to be viewed as a one-off psychedelic classic,[5] influential on the development of the neo-psychedelia music genre, and on a number of 80s bands, especially R.E.M.. Bill Holdship in a 2001 review in Rolling Stone commented that the album's influences could be detected "on bands ranging from R.E.M. and the Replacements to the Stone Roses and the Pixies", and that it "offers modern listeners some great, great rock songs".[7]

Stephen Thomas Erlewine in a retrospective review for Allmusic felt that the music on the album showed the influence of the Beatlesthe Byrds and Syd Barrett, and that in its turn it influenced the jangle pop of R.E.M. and other underground pop of the 1980s.[1]

Matt LeMay in a 2010 review for Pitchfork felt that the album was unsuccessful on release in 1981 as the timing was wrong as audiences had little interest in "music that incorporated the indelible harmonies of the Byrds and the surrealism of Syd Barrett"; but that anyhow the album is "best considered with the benefit of hindsight, and for all the famous music it inspired, there is still nothing quite like Underwater Moonlight".[8]

Track listing[edit]Edit

All songs by Robyn Hitchcock except as indicated.

Side one
  1. "I Wanna Destroy You" – 2:52
  2. "Kingdom of Love" – 4:10
  3. "Positive Vibrations" – 3:10
  4. "I Got the Hots" – 4:42
  5. "Insanely Jealous" – 4:15
Side two
  1. "Tonight" – 3:44
  2. "You'll Have to Go Sideways" (Hitchcock, Kimberley Rew) – 2:57
  3. "Old Pervert" (Hitchcock, Rew, Matthew SeligmanMorris Windsor) – 3:52
  4. "Queen of Eyes" – 2:01
  5. "Underwater Moonlight" – 4:17
  • The Canadian release on Attic Records included a slight reordering of tracks, as well as a cover version of Syd Barrett's "Vegetable Man".
Outtakes on reissue release
  1. "He's a Reptile" – 4:27
  2. "Vegetable Man" (Syd Barrett) – 2:59
  3. "Strange" – 2:59
  4. "Only the Stones Remain" – 2:50
  5. "Where Are the Prawns?" – 6:06
  6. "Dreams" – 4:37
  7. "Black Snake Diamond Rock" – 4:24
  8. "There's Nobody Like You" – 3:11
  9. "Song #4" – 4:35
Bonus reissue disc
...And How It Got There[9]
  1. "Old Pervert – section 1" – 1:38 (Hitchcock, Rew, Seligman, Windsor)
  2. "Like a Real Smoothie" – 3:43
  3. "Alien" – 3:13
  4. "Bloat (extract)" – 1:00 (Hitchcock, Rew, Seligman, Windsor)
  5. "Underwater Moonlight" – 6:24
  6. "She Wears My Hair" – 5:22
  7. "Wang Dang Pig" – 3:56
  8. "Old Pervert – section 2" – 1:31 (Hitchcock, Rew, Seligman, Windsor)
  9. "Insanely Jealous" – 5:03
  10. "Leave Me Alone" – 6:45 (Lou Reed)
  11. "Goodbye Maurice or Steve" – 3:14
  12. "Old Pervert – section 3" – 0:36 (Hitchcock, Rew, Seligman, Windsor)
  13. "Cherries" – 2:54 (Hitchcock, Rew, Seligman, Windsor)
  14. "Amputated" – 4:22
  15. "Over You" – 4:00 (Bryan FerryPhil Manzanera)
  16. "I Wanna, Er... (extract)" – 0:42 (Hitchcock, Rew, Seligman, Windsor)
  17. "Old Pervert – section 4" – 1:24 (Hitchcock, Rew, Seligman, Windsor)


  • Robyn Hitchcock – Guitar, Vocals, Rhythm Bass on "Insanely Jealous"
  • Kimberley Rew – Guitar, Vocals, Bass & Synthesiser on "You'll Have To Go Sideways"
  • Matthew Seligman – Bass
  • Morris Windsor – Drums & Vocals
  • Gerry Hale – Violin on "Insanely Jealous" & "Underwater Moonlight"
  • Andy King – Sitar on "Positive Vibrations"
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