Soft Hearted Scientists – The Slow Cyclone
Formats: Digital / CD
Label: The Hip Replacement
Release Date: 22nd September 2014
‘The Slow Cyclone‘ is the 6th album by the Cardiff based psychedelic collective Soft Hearted Scientists. It is an ambitious song cycle of 24 tracks comprising full songs, instrumentals and tiny interludes, divided into 4 groups of 6 tracks.
The songs include the spooky silent movie accompaniment style organ playing of “Flying Horses”, which lets the listener settle into their seat before the show starts; the mid period Byrds flavoured “The Ups and the Downs”, which features cascading chiming guitars, choral harmonies, and lyrics featuring Alexander the Great and Basil Rathbone as well as domestic conflict;
“Frozen Waterfalls” is riddled with fear and sounds like it was recorded in a derelict theatre at midnight using a haunted Wurlitzer organ; “Dark Departments” has a Led Zeppelin 3 feel to the relentless riff and the lyrics feature a day dream about Nazis being burnt at the stake; “South Shropshire Tales” is a harpsichord instrumental conjuring up images of Emma Peel and Steed in some creepy country house surrounded by suits of armour which may just start to move in a threatening way; “Robots Remember” is Isaac Asimov meets Kraftwerk jamming with Harry Belafonte – unlikely to spawn a new genre of decommissioned robot diary techno calypso, but all the better for being a one off. The album ends with the Leonard Cohen inspired meditation on death, “Before I Was Born”.
The recordings are intentionally “mid fi” having been recorded in three different home studios. Rather than produce an ultra polished anodyne sound, little real life touches have been left in on some tracks – count ins, coughs, cats scratching at the bedroom door, birdsong, and inconvenient phone interruptions. This causes an interesting confusion in places, as the innocent sound of bird song outside the window in “Dark Departments” gives way to aforementioned Jimmy Page style acoustic riffing. Together with some tracks overlapping with each other, the overall effect is to create a nocturnal dream feel, which persists for some time after the fade of “Before I Was Born”.
The state51 Conspiracy are handling physical distribution for Soft Hearted Scientists – The Slow Cyclone. If you are a record store and would like to place an order, please get in touch with us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Praise for their 5th album ‘False Lights’…
“…tracks feature generous dollops of Beatles/Barrett whimsy, with surreal lyrics involving squids, goldfish, piranhas, Sid Vicious, Nagasaki, the Gestapo, ‘Halloween People,’ and psychological ‘Monsters of The Id.” – Shindig magazine, June 2013
“False Lights” has more twists and turns than most bands cram into an entire career.
Certainly one of the most tuneful albums I’ve heard this year. Highly recommended.” – The Active Listener
“…Songwriter Nathan Hall’s lyrics poke fun at modern mores and are at times funny, occasionally beguiling, but always memorable. His deadpan delivery doesn’t mask the fact that he actually writes some rather ace and catchy tunes.” – Harmonic Distortion
“The album is crammed with whimsical melody, sweet psychedelia, harmony and a charm that is hard to describe” – Terrascope.co.uk