The Soft Boys

Side Three

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The title Side Three refers to the fact that five of the six songs on this EP were recorded by the reunited Soft Boys during the sessions for their 2002 "comeback" album, Nextdoorland, though "Side Two" might have been slightly more apt -- you could take these outtakes, drop them right into the middle of the album, and they would fit perfectly fine (and wouldn't even exceed the capacity of a compact disc). Side Three doesn't sound at all like a collections of castoffs or rejects -- these songs easily live up to Nextdoorland's high standards, with Robyn Hitchcock and Kimberley Rew as splendid as ever on guitars and Morris Windsor and Matthew Seligman proving once again that they're an elegant and supremely musical rhythm section, as Hitchcock brings still more delectably angular songs to the group's repertoire. While the nameless bit of tape mangling on track six is a joke that doesn't pan out, and the live take of "Evil Guy" (with Thomas Dolby on keyboard) is not as compelling as one might imagine, the other five tunes are the dessert that tops off the banquet of the Soft Boys' return to the studio, and if you're any kind of a fan, you'll want to hear this.

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