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Soft Boys - Nextdoorland

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 15 / 9 / 2002

Soft Boys - Nextdoorland
Label: Matador Records
Format: CD


Fantastic new album from the recently reformed the Soft Boys, which follows on naturally from their classic 'Underwater Moonlight' album of 22 years years ago

'Nextdoorland' is the second full album by the definitive line up of the Soft Boys, and like the Chameleons' reunion album 'Why Call It Anything', it is not so much a reunion as a carrying on of unfinished business. Like the Chameleons, they aired some of the songs on their 21st anniversary 'Underwater Moonlight'tour of 2001. I am glad that this is as great a record as it is, because reunions should be about carrying on good work, not making a fast buck because solo careers haven't gone too well. Both the band's songwriters, Robyn Hitchcock and Kimberley Rew, have had more than successful careers post Soft Boys. Both are also excellent guitarists and show men, as is very much demonstrated on 'Mr Kennedy', the third track, and in their live show, where on the 2001 tour, it often closed the set. So where do the Soft Boys live nowadays ? 'Nextdoorland'. That's where. They have always been ahead of their time and, even though their brand of psych was groovy in the early 80's, not many people got it. By the time I first heard the Soft Boys' 1979 debut album 'A Can of Bees'in 1983, which was recorded in a different line-up, they had been and gone, but in the shared student house in which I was living in Hendon in North London at the time, Robyn's sense of humour was always bouncing around. So, to the the Soft Boys in 2002. 'Nextdoorland' is a 41 minute album of very tight rock 'n' roll, with great jangly guitars and great lyrics with clever observations of life by Robyn Hitchcock, who is a master of words. As the Soft Boys is Robyn's baby, he won't sing other people' words except in concert where they do fabulous and very cool covers of the songs of their heroes, the Byrds and Pink Floyd. The Soft Boys have come of age, but I can't see them finding a new fan base. People, who have always got it, will tell their friends about this great band and will continue to spread the word. In true terms, the Soft Boys are too damn clever for the rock 'n' roll world. Sadly a lot of their humour has vanished, but then the world was very much more a safer place in the 80's. Wasn't it ? A great band though, and a great record. Do yourself a favour and discover the Soft Boys.

Track Listing:-
1 I Love Lucy
2 Pulse Of My Heart
3 Mr Kennedy
4 Unprotected Love
5 My Mind Is Connected
6 Sudden Town
7 Dtrings
8 Japanese Captain
9 LA Cherite
10 Lions And Tigers

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Interview Part 2 (2002)
Soft Boys - Interview Part 2
In the second part of our two part Soft Boys interview, Anthony Strutt talks to frontman Robyn Hitchcock about his 20 year solo career, working with both the Damned's Captain Sensible and REM's Peter Buck, and further about the group's recent reformation
Interview Part 1 (2002)

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