Saturday, 17 September 2016

Music of Wales: Soft Hearted Scientists - The Creeps / Zeds

Soft Hearted Scientists The Creeps

Soft Hearted Scientists - The Creeps

Info: Continuing our cultural music exchange (or Celtic Blog Exchange as Aled puts it, which sounds so much better!) between Ireland and Wales, here's a double-release of tracks I really enjoyed from our partner site, Music Blog Wales, by Cardiff psychedelic troupe Soft Hearted Scientists, and their single, 'The Creeps'. Review courtesy of Music Blog Wales;

Double A-sided single 'The Creeps '/ 'Zeds' was released on 12th August, and is lifted from legendary psych act Soft Hearted Scientists' new 26 track double album Golden Omens.

A-side "The Creeps" is a insidiously brilliant dark-psych-pop song about, dread, premonitions, armchair time travelling and "Cretaceous childhood memories". Inspired by the realisation that as soon as a day is finished it is as over as the Roman Empire, or the dinosaurs that used to roam around Bethnal Green. Containing a tip of the hat to Moon Safari era Air, with added Greek chorus choir, and BBC Radiophonic workshop sound effects.

"Zeds" is a ridiculous surreal chiming, pop stomp, name checking Oedipus, The Sphinx, and how hideous British winters trigger an instinct to hibernate from November to April in a large cardboard box, like a bitter human tortoise, saving a lot of money on bills, and bypassing the rubbish weather.  It’s possibly the only song by Soft Hearted Scientists with a middle section equally as influenced by “Smile” era Beach Boys, and the preposterous 1980s novelty hit "I eat cannibals" by Toto Coelo.

Soft Hearted Scientists are purveyors of timeless folk tinged psychedelia. Forged around the songwriting partnership of Nathan Hall; Dylan Line in 2001, Soft Hearted Scientists started life as a garden shed experiment on a low budget involving, acoustic guitars, antique synthesizers and pots and pans.

Soft Hearted Scientists - Zeds

Releasing their debut album Uncanny Tales From the Everyday Undergrowth in the heady summer of 2005 on my Kung Fu Records. They were joined by bassist Mike Bailey and Paul Jones with his 12 string acoustic guitar, banjo and mandolin skills for the second album Take Time. The group have released six albums in all of their timeless brand of personally inflected, magic realistic, folk tinged psychedelia that’s influenced by everything from The Byrds to the Incredible String Band to Kraftwerk. As BBC Wales’s Adam Walton puts it: 'Their music is hidden waterfalls, owls hooting over mountain lakes, gloaming folktales told to campfire embers, all illuminated by meteor melodies and stardust arrangements.' The Scientists have consistently earned rave reviews from the likes of NME, Penny Black Music, Shindig and received airplay on Radcliffe and Maconie’s Six Music show. They’ve beguiled practically everyone who has clapped ears upon their music, yet still, they are tragically undiscovered treasures to those who aren’t in the know.
This summer, Soft Hearted Scientists release their seventh album Golden Omens, a sprawling double album, a mixture of lyrical songs, instrumentals and interludes divided into four parts. It could be viewed as a sister album to their last long player The Slow Cyclone as it’s entirely homemade, at times, deliberately unpolished. But it is also a stand alone album that is not weighed down by some ponderous, dreaded concept.

Sonically the songs are a glorious tapestry of psychedelia, haunted midnight ghost folk, baroque pop, gallows humour wonky show tunes that will never trouble Broadway, and even an unexpected one off shock turn down Dick Dale Avenue. Acoustic and electric guitars blend with home made percussion, vintage keyboards, and electronic underwater/outer space/nature sound effects, to add colour and texture and hopefully transport listeners out of their living rooms out of the mundanity of their everyday lives and make them feel like they have been on a short, revitalising holiday by the end of the album.

Golden Omens holds a mirror up to the beauty, horror, mundanity, wrong turns, tiny delights, rubbish and brilliant aspects of life and,  the ongoing (doomed) struggle to make some sense of it all.