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The ongoing, influential legacy of Robyn Hitchcock

The Soft Boys frontman has led quite a life, releasing a bunch of influential solo albums in addition to the music produced by his iconic band.

UK musician Robyn Hitchcock gained popularity in the '70s and '80s with his band The Soft Boys. Their debut full-length A Can of Bees (1979) offers a modest introduction to the band including the track 'Give It To The Soft Boys' – a two-minute groove that sets the scene for a wordy, weird and assertive 16-minute record with killer bass lines and Hitchcock’s sarcastic vocals.

Their second album, Underwater Moonlight (1980) garnered little commercial success but influenced a number of bands in their sound, including The Pixies and R.E.M. ‘I Got the Hots’ is an intense sound of longing with a somewhat creepy guitar riff but saves itself with a soft and upbeat chorus which sings “would you care for a lump of steak?” Perhaps still creepy.

The Soft Boys eventually broke up in 1981 and Hitchcock went on to make solo records, releasing Black Snake Diamond Röle, Groovy Decay and I Often Dream of Trains. In 1984 he formed a backing band known as The Egyptians and the following year released Fegmania!, which features interesting tracks such as 'Egyptian Cream' and the ever catchy, 'My Wife and My Dead Wife'. The album has since been reissued twice featuring a number of bonus tracks including demos of 'Egyptian Cream'.

Disbanding The Egyptians in 1994, Hitchcock went on to release a number of solo records and has continued to do so until now. 2017 saw the release of his self-titled record, taking aspects of psychedelia, folk and straight up rock 'n' roll. The satire and subtleness of his lyrics are prominent within the record, including the track 'Virginia Woolf' which sings, “Sylvia Plath she lay down on the floor, Sylvia Plath she opened one final door.” Then there's the final track, 'Sand Time Coast' with lyrics, “I’m singing like a fossil, time goes by so fast.”

Although having frequented Australia several times in the past few years, Hitchcock is set to return in March. He'll take to The Tote on Friday March 1 (with support from RVG), Jerkfest Five at the Barwon Club Hotel on Saturday March 2, and The Merri Creek Tavern on Wednesday March 6 alongside The Psychedelic Trams. With over 20 records under his belt, other Robyn Hitchcock tracks to check out in preparation for the shows should include 'Do Policemen Sing' and 'The Man Who Invented Himself' off Black Snake Diamond Röleand 'Flesh Number One (Beatle Dennis)' off Globe of Frogs.

By Morgan Mangan