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SOFT HEARTED SCIENTISTS

Prog Folk • United Kingdom


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Soft Hearted Scientists picture
Soft Hearted Scientists biography
Founded in Cardiff, Wales, UK in 2001

Founded as the result of a serendipitous meeting while searching for meteor fragments in the Garwnant area of the Brecon Beacons Welsh national forest, SOFT HEARTED SCIENTISTS are at-heart a psychedelic band. Having never learned instruments prior to their formation, the fairly strong folk undertones and broad use of eclectic and acoustic instruments seems a natural part of their evolution. The Cardiff-based band has released a handful of proper studio albums along with two compilations of early recordings and numerous singles and EPs.

>> Bio by Bob Moore (aka ClemofNazareth) <<

See also: HERE

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SOFT HEARTED SCIENTISTS discography


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SOFT HEARTED SCIENTISTS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 2 ratings
Take Time To Wonder In A Whirling World
2007
4.00 | 1 ratings
Wandermoon
2011
3.96 | 6 ratings
False Lights
2013
4.00 | 2 ratings
The Slow Cyclone
2014
3.98 | 3 ratings
Golden Omens
2016

SOFT HEARTED SCIENTISTS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

SOFT HEARTED SCIENTISTS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

SOFT HEARTED SCIENTISTS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.98 | 3 ratings
Uncanny Tales from the Everyday Undergrowth
2005
0.00 | 0 ratings
Scarecrow Smile: Home Demos, Volume 1
2009
4.00 | 2 ratings
Whatever Happened to the Soft Hearted Scientists?
2013
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Continuing Escapades of the Soft Hearted Scientists
2020

SOFT HEARTED SCIENTISTS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
The Bethesda EP
2004
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Wendigo EP
2004
0.00 | 0 ratings
Isabella
2004
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Midnight Mutinies EP
2005
0.00 | 0 ratings
Light Years to Nothing
2007
0.00 | 0 ratings
Siberia
2007
0.00 | 0 ratings
Eyes
2007
0.00 | 0 ratings
Tornadoes in Birmingham
2011
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Trees Don't Seem to Know That it's September
2011
4.00 | 2 ratings
Please Read Me/Moths Mistook Us For The Moon
2019

SOFT HEARTED SCIENTISTS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Continuing Escapades of the Soft Hearted Scientists by SOFT HEARTED SCIENTISTS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2020
3.00 | 1 ratings

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The Continuing Escapades of the Soft Hearted Scientists
Soft Hearted Scientists Prog Folk

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

— First review of this album —
3 stars Back in 2013, Fruits de Mer Records released a double vinyl retrospective of the Welsh bands' early work, concentrating on the first four albums. The label convinced them it was a great idea to undertake another, to look at the next four albums, and they should also add a new song at the same time. The result, "Please Read Me" was released as a single in 2019 and is here as an extended version. The album itself contains 4 slabs of vinyl, as while there is a double album of SFS songs taken from 'Wandermoon', 'False Lights', 'The Slow Cyclone' and 'Golden Omens', there is another double vinyl set where they gave Marc Swordfish (Astralasia) to do what he wished with their instrumental tracks. The result are four numbers, each spread over a complete side of vinyl, where he has taken music from throughout the career and turned it into something quite different.

Released in September 2020, I note it is already sold out at the label, but it may still be possible to pick one of these up elsewhere. Soft Hearted Scientists are without doubt one of the most interesting and genuine psychedelic bands around, as not only do they have the sound, but they are also adventurous, so each song is distinctly different, and one is never sure where the journey is going to lead. We also have quite short perfectly formed pop numbers in between epics, yet all with real direction and purpose. I often feel I should only to them music while clad in tie dye and with some strange smells in the air, relaxed and into the groove. The vocals really bring us into the stories, and I am as much in love with "Seaside Sid" as I was the very first time I heard it, as it contains absolutely everything one could ever expect from a psychedelic song with so many different layers and instruments all combining into a pop nonsense which is superb. But is there a darker message in there?

However, the same cannot be said for the last two albums that contain the four "Astral Adventure" numbers. There are individual sections which are very nice, but I found it hard to stay focussed and after a while, I realised I was only playing the songs all the way through as I needed to do so to be able to review it. When listening to music is a duty and not a pleasure then that is a problem. But given this set was aimed at fans, then at least this is here as an extra as opposed to the main course, as for me one of the joys of SFS is their purpose, which on these has become sadly diluted. What this set does bring home is just what a great band they are, and it also reminded me that although we have had a few songs, they have not released a brand-new album since 2016!! Let's hope that 2021 is the year.

 Golden Omens by SOFT HEARTED SCIENTISTS album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.98 | 3 ratings

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Golden Omens
Soft Hearted Scientists Prog Folk

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars At the time of writing this in 2020, this 2016 album is the most recent full-length release of new material, so hopefully this means there is more due soon. I first came across the band with the release of last year's 'Please Read Me' single, so hopefully that is a portent that more will be here in the near future, as music as such as this is just so good and enjoyable. 'Shiver Me Timbers' is a classic beat number from the mid-Sixties, with a chorus and bridge which is solid Hollies, yet even with less than three and a half minutes to play with the still turn it into some more than 'just' a pop number. We even get some electric guitar (which is unusual for them) which sounds as if it has been taken from 'Pictures of Matchstick Men'!

This was released originally as a double CD set, with a total running time of 65 minutes, so it just begs to be put out on vinyl as music like this is from the era when CDs hadn't been thought of, and streaming a distant nightmare, as this is from the times when people sat and really listened to music. They obviously have a real thing for Billy Joe Cyrus though, as they return to him in 'Rue The Day', following on from 'Diving Bell' all those years earlier. I do firmly appreciate the sentiment they give to Simon Cowell in the same number, and although they are making a humorous statement it is also a very sad indictment on what many people today think of as musical culture. Music is not an entity to be given away free of charge, nor just to be played in the background, it is something which is meant to be listened to intently, and musicians rewarded for their efforts.

Soft Hearted Scientists continue to release music with real heart, looking back strongly to a time when songs such as these dominated the charts, and refuse to bow down to what people expect these days and instead continue to forge ahead with their own style of psychedelia, folk, singer songwriter, poppy majestic tunes, and is a band all lovers of real music, not the plastic disposable nature of so many, need to discover.

 The Slow Cyclone by SOFT HEARTED SCIENTISTS album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.00 | 2 ratings

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The Slow Cyclone
Soft Hearted Scientists Prog Folk

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars The fourth full-length studio album of all-new material was released by Soft Hearted Scientists in 2014 and featured 24 songs with a total running time of less than an hour. Some of these numbers last less than 20 seconds, with the majority being around the three-minute mark and just one breaking five. This feels more of a structured release than the others, with the songs moving through different styles as the listener moves through the album, so there is a real desire to keep going all the way through to the end and work through the emotions and hooks. "Drifting Away" honestly sounds as if it was recorded more than 50 years ago, with plenty of acoustic guitars and bass plus some delicate synths in the background, but what makes this song is the total change in the bridge when the vocals and whole style of music is different and then it goes back again. Harmony vocals abound throughout this album, and there is far more whimsy and naivety than on 'False Light', as they go back more to the style they started with.

Early Pink Floyd are still a major influence, and in some ways, I can hear Buffalo Springfield, combining with the likes of The Byrds, early Caravan, Syd Barrett and even The Beatles. One of the delights of their music is also the lyrics, which are always well thought out and often tell stories which the listener wants to settle back and enjoy. Even the story of the "Hermit Crab" is incredibly visual, and one really agrees with the words being sung. The introduction of a seagull's squawk at the end is both unnecessary and rather mean! Anyone who enjoys this style of music will great a deal from discovering this album, as yet again Soft Hearted Scientists have released something which is immensely enjoyable on very first hearing and it only gets better the more it is played.

 Whatever Happened to the Soft Hearted Scientists? by SOFT HEARTED SCIENTISTS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2013
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Whatever Happened to the Soft Hearted Scientists?
Soft Hearted Scientists Prog Folk

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars In 2013 the mighty Fruits de Mer released a compilation of material on a double vinyl album along with an associated 33 rpm 7" single providing 23 songs at a total length of more than 100 minutes. Needless to say, the vinyl sold out as soon as it was announced, but this album is still available through Bandcamp and I believe singer Nathan Hall still has some double CD sets for sale as well through the same site. The album starts with a short cover version of the theme tune for 'Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads", a popular British sitcom from the mid Seventies (which I clearly remember watching), and is apparently the only cover the band have ever attempted. It certainly through me back into the Seventies when I heard it, as although it has been given the SHS treatment of acoustic guitars and harmony vocals it is instantly recognisable. Interestingly, the TV series was itself a sequel to a Sixties sitcom, picking up the tale some five years after that had ended, showing how the two featured friends had changed, so it is a perfectly fitting and interesting title for a compilation which is looking over a period of time.

This means we get earlier material with a drum machine, and later material with "real" drums, and we trip through whimsy and different styles, all of which are firmly rooted in the late Sixties. We get banjo, Wurlitzer-style organ, mandolin, and one cannot help but fall in love with songs that are full of naivety and refusal to conform to whatever anyone feels music should be in the 21st century. Songs such as "The Trees Don't Seem To Know It's September" are full of the feelings of love and joy which only ever seemed to be displayed in this manner back when the world was a far nicer and better place. "Halloween People" with its multi-guitar attack is simply delightful, with hooks and a nod to the Canterbury Scene. This is folk, it is prog, it is psychedelic, it has been influenced by Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Caravan, and is a wonderful place to discover one of the best bands to come out of Wales.

 False Lights by SOFT HEARTED SCIENTISTS album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.96 | 6 ratings

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False Lights
Soft Hearted Scientists Prog Folk

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars Released in 2013, 'False Lights' was both the third and fifth album from the Welshmen (who by now had extended to a quintet with the addition of drummer Frank Naughton) as although it was only their third album of all new- material they had already released a compilation of EP's plus one of demo recordings. This album saw the band move into a slightly different direction as it wasn't as whimsical as some of their earlier works, and they were also expanding the musical sounds they were using, while the use of a drummer (deliberately sparingly it must be said) also made changes to what we were hearing. It is also darker and somewhat more considered, but any group which is using the sounds of an accordion can never be taken too seriously.

This is again very much acoustic based, but this contains far more of a progressive aspect and songs such as the title track owe a great deal to early Pink Floyd and has obviously been influenced by "Pow R. Toc H.", although this contains vocals. The music of "Golgatha" is more powerful, and somewhat slower, and one listens to the subject matter which includes references Nagasaki and Gestapo among others, one feels the band are putting out quite a statement. They have moved on without ever losing touch with their roots, and I can see how this album would have gained them many new fans without alienating any who had been with them since the early days. Fans of the Canterbury Scene, psychedelia, folk and pop really need to discover this band if they haven't already.

 Uncanny Tales from the Everyday Undergrowth by SOFT HEARTED SCIENTISTS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2005
3.98 | 3 ratings

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Uncanny Tales from the Everyday Undergrowth
Soft Hearted Scientists Prog Folk

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars When this collection was originally released in 2005 it brought together the first three EP's from this Welsh band, namely 'Wendigo', 'Bethesda' and 'Midnight Mutinies'. They then revisited it in 2016 and reissued it as a double album containing not only the original 12 songs but also a demo for each as well, taking the length to more than two hours. The band were originally a duo of Nathan Hall (vocals, guitar, keyboards, drum boxes, percussion, sounds) and Dylan Line (keyboards, Omnichord, guitar, sazz, percussion, sounds, vocals), and to understand a little about their sense of humour, when discussing this album they say 'it featured the mighty elastic bass lines of Incredible String Band sorcerer's apprentice Michael Bailey as a freelance guest star. We met him while beachcombing in Penarth for giant squid. We didn't find any. Never do. But what the heck, we gained some fearsome bass action. His contribution was so good that we decided for him that he was joining the group. To this day when he tries to tell us that technically he never actually agreed to joining us, we simply tune him out and let him talk himself out.' The line-up was completed by Paul Jones (guitar, mandolin, banjo, keyboards, vocals).

They are variously described as folk prog or psychedelic, but however one wishes to describe this it is as solid a slab of wonderful acoustic guitar-based tunes as one is likely to come across. Okay, so they use a drum machine, but to be honest there isn't much in the way of percussive beats as this is mostly about a great deal of guitars and harmony vocals on songs which have great hooks, and the use of real cymbals definitely makes a difference. The lyrics of 'Diving Bell' have to be heard to be believed, with Billy Joe Cyrus is being tortured by the devil for crimes against humanity and has to play "Achy Breaky Heart" on a one-stringed banjo for eternity, and even cutting off his mullet cannot atone for what he has done. I am also very fond of 'The Yongy Bongy Bo' which has a musical delicacy offset by the wonderful lyrics, which is the poem by Edward Lear that they have set to music. Given I now live not far from the Coromandel and did live in Dorking in the UK for some 12 years, both of which are referenced in the poem, it seems strangely apposite.

This certainly never seems as if it is a compilation of different releases, but far more like a single structured album, and for anyone who enjoys great acoustic music with more than a hint of the late Sixties then this is a must.

 Please Read Me/Moths Mistook Us For The Moon by SOFT HEARTED SCIENTISTS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2019
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Please Read Me/Moths Mistook Us For The Moon
Soft Hearted Scientists Prog Folk

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars UK band SOFT HEARTED SCIENTISTS are closing in fast on celebrating 20 years as an active band, and the majority of that time the band has spent in the more secluded parts of the underground music scene at that. Hopefully, with their long time association with UK label Fruits de Mer Records, that will change at some point.

Both songs here are charming and compelling, in a distinctly retro and very English kind of way. Despite the band being based out of Wales. Anyhow, if retro-oriented pastoral psychedelic rock with something of an understated nature to it sounds like a good thing to you, tracking down this single, or just about anything else this band has produced, should be well worth it.

 Please Read Me/Moths Mistook Us For The Moon by SOFT HEARTED SCIENTISTS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2019
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Please Read Me/Moths Mistook Us For The Moon
Soft Hearted Scientists Prog Folk

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars If ever a band really does capture the psychedelic joy of the late Sixties then surely it is the multi-faceted gloriously poptastic and folky Soft Hearted Scientists. Apparently they have been putting together a retrospective for F de M, but the decision was made to release this wonderful little single while that was taking place. The A side (this is a coloured vinyl release after all) is a cover of The Bee Gees' "Please Read Me", and contains glorious harmonies and a serious dose of flower power. The B side, "Moths Mistook Us For The Moon", is more folky and reminds me somewhat of Dulcimer, with acoustic guitars allowing themselves to take pride of place but also allow an electric to come in when the time is right. The vocals are divine, and as an introduction to the band this is superb. Now when is that album coming out?
 Uncanny Tales from the Everyday Undergrowth by SOFT HEARTED SCIENTISTS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2005
3.98 | 3 ratings

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Uncanny Tales from the Everyday Undergrowth
Soft Hearted Scientists Prog Folk

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Welsh band SOFT HEARTED SCIENTISTS first appeared back in 2004, and following some initial EP's their first full length album "Uncanny Tales from the Everyday Undergrowth" (a compilation of their first three EPs) appeared in 2005: In 2016 the band decided to reissue this production as a double album, the second CD in the package consisting of the home demo recordings of the original album.

Soft Hearted Scientists made a favorable impression among many listeners and reviewers when this album first appeared back in 2005, and as far as I'm concerned, this is a production that comes across as a strong and compelling album also 12 years later. Those with an affection for the gentlest aspects of progressive rock, and one with a firm orientation towards folk music, acoustic rock and '60s psychedelic pop, should feel compelled to check out this band in general and this album in particular.

 Golden Omens by SOFT HEARTED SCIENTISTS album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.98 | 3 ratings

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Golden Omens
Soft Hearted Scientists Prog Folk

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Welsh band SOFT HEARTED SCIENTISTS first appeared back in 2004, when they released a couple of singles, and have since been a part of the local music scene in Wales, steadily releasing new music and slowly gaining recognition by music lovers. "Golden Omens" is their most recent studio album, and was released in 2016 via their own label The Hip Replacement.

"Golden Omens" is an old fashioned double album, put together in a manner that begs for a double LP release at some point if the commercial interest is high enough. Those fond of acoustic based music exploring landscapes of gentle but at times quirky and subtly weird psychedelia should probably be the ones that note down the name of this album first and foremost, although I suspect that many that also enjoy what is described as singer/songwriter music these days should also find this release to be of interest.

Thanks to ClemofNazareth for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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