eMusic Review 0
Five years after the demise of the Soft Boys, Robyn Hitchcock reformed the band as the Egyptians, substituting Roger Jackson's plinking keyboards for Kimberley Rew's stinging guitar. The result, after years of searching, was an album that established the template for Hitchcock's solo career. Fusing Syd Barrett and John Lennon, Hitchcock's greatest influences, with the Byrds'jangling guitars and layered harmonies (demonstrated by the bonus-track cover of “The Bells of Rhymney”), the songs on Fegmania! mix dark-hued surrealism with off-kilter wit. Notwithstanding its absurdist fillips, “My Wife and My Dead Wife” is an adroit dissection of a romantic relationship haunted by the ghosts of past loves.
Hitchcock's eccentricity can be off-putting to the uninitiated, but songs like “Egyptian Cream” hide dangerous undercurrents beneath their fanciful surfaces. Even the overt wackiness of “The Man With the Lightbulb Head” takes on disturbing overtones, like a children's fairy tale that turns into a bad dream.
The reissue adds the droning, dissonant instrumental “The Pit of Souls” as well as a handful of newly recorded “context recordings” and a live version of “Heaven” from 1992.