Monday, May 6, 2013

Vinyl Review: Soft Hearted Scientists - Whatever Happened To The Soft Hearted Scientists


Trying to get a handle on the sprawling two-LP/1EP compilation, Whatever Happened To The Soft Hearted Scientists can be a daunting task. Available from the vinyl-only UK label Fruits de Mer, it  pulls from seven years worth of Soft Hearted Scientists material. The eccentric British band not only zips through genres like a spaceship crossing galaxies, it succeeds in exploring a variety of emotions.

Two new tracks, “Whatever Happened To You” and “Whatever Happened To You/The Sleepers In The Hill,” serve as wistful bookends on the LPs; striving to find meaning over several years of living. The darker “Halloween People” and “Night Of The Hunter” give a glimpse of the brand new False Light release, while older songs like “The Strangest Scene” and “The Garden Song” can also elicit chills. “Eyes” and “Comet’s Tail” are more conventional pop songs, with clever lyrics and irresistible melodies.

Soft Hearted Scientists craft a gallows humor drinking song with “Daisies,” which cheerfully observes, “They’ll be carbon dating our bones some day/I’d like to think we found some joy along this strange, strange way,” and sets poet Edward Lear’s silly The Courtship of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo to a gorgeous acoustic arrangement. Throughout Whatever Happened To The Soft Hearted Scientists, there are blasts of Pink Floyd inspired prog rock and hypnotic vocals that border on transcendental chants. This ambitious set closes appropriately with the majestic instrumental, “Light Years To Nothing.” 

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