Soft Boys — Nextdoorland
(Matador OLE-553, 2002, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2003-02-01
I don’t think I would get much argument if I claimed that the Soft Boys were, in their original incarnation (1976-1981) the prime exponents of psychedelic punk music. The sheer lack of competition in the field assures them a place in history. Not that they were very punkish, though in true garage psych tradition they got pretty noisy at times. It would also be easy to say that the Boys were nothing more than the vehicle for leader Robyn Hitchcock’s rather unusual musical vision, though farther from the truth. While Hitchcock was always the songwriter, the band contributed a lot to sound, as can be determined by comparing Soft Boys records to Hitchcock’s numerous solo releases (at least twelve at this writing by my count). The twin-guitar sound of the Boys is what is missing. Hitchcock is a fine guitarist on his own, but when he has Kimberley Rew to play off of, something special results. This reunion album features ten songs with lyrics by Hitchcock and a bit of help from his old compatriots. The same odd lyrical twists you expect are very much in evidence, with my favorite being “If you were as hard as a diamond, you could be used as a cutting tool, right in the forefront of industry” in “Unprotected Love” (which is not about safe sex, but taking emotional chances). I would highly recommend this release to any fans of tuneful psychedelic rock. There are no long spacey jams, just twisted songs with humorous lyrics played very well.
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more