Generally speaking, reunions do not excite me. The 2002 Soft Boys reunion was not an exception. Don't get me wrong, I bought the excellent reunion album, Nextdoorland, making a special effort to buy it on LP because it came with a bonus live 7" single, and picked up the mail-order only Side Three. But I wasn't really clamoring for a band reunion because Robyn Hitchcock's solo albums suited me just fine, and in truth any song on Nextdoorland could have easily slotted into his previous effort, Jewels For Sophia, or for that matter 2006's Ole! Tarantula. Any of the guys other than bassist Matthew Seligman were likely to show up as guests on a Hitchcock solo album anyway.
While the resultant material broke no new ground, it was very good. There was no way the band was going to produce another masterpiece on the order of 1980's Underwater Moonlight, recorded when the band was young and hungry (and actually a band). But the new material has a lot going for it, with the warm feeling of a bunch of old friends re-discovering why they got along so well in the first place.
This was a reunion that succeeded in part because it was so unnecessary. Very often the prospect of a band reunion is exciting because the members have done little worth bothering with since the band broke up. The resulting reunions are often disappointing because that trend continues after the band reforms. The Soft Boys reunion was not burdened with any of that kind of baggage, and succeeded marvelously on its own terms.
"Narcissus" comes from the mail-order only Side Three, while "Only The Stones Remain" comes from the live 7" included with vinyl copies of Nextdoorland, and shows the band to be in just as good form as they were back in 1980.