Monday, July 8, 2013

CD Review: Soft Hearted Scientists - False Lights

After being feted by the all-vinyl label Fruits de Mer with a greatest hits package, the Welsh eccentrics known as Soft Hearted Scientists now have a new CD. False Lights offers more of the band’s pleasant harmonies and tuneful arrangements, but there’s a running theme of being pursued or controlled by evil forces. There are numerous images of demons and mass murder but as Soft Hearted Scientist songwriter Nathan Hall points out in a press release, False Lights also celebrates purring cats, scenic views, and the overall decency of the human race.

In “Halloween People,” a fun and imaginative take on the spooky holiday, a tabloid newspaper reverts back to a tree and kills the cheesy editors and Paparazzi. The exotic “Seeing” rapidly spins tales of Viking ships sailing through traffic jams as well as a bonfire of baseball caps, while “Trees In The Wind” mixes gorgeous vocals and magical fantasies. Occasionally, the juxtaposition of horror and bouncing melodies is too flippant, as with a reference to The Gestapo killing people in “Golgotha.” The macabre nursery rhyme “Seaside Sid And The Giant Squid,” just one of the times the Soft Hearted Scientists get too repetitious, will stick in your head for the rest of eternity.

The arrangements throughout False Lights are inventive, especially on “Song From The River,” which has an irresistible acoustic instruments and percussion intro, and the fetching, old fashioned “Turn The Tables.” Simultaneously disturbing, enchanting, and just plain silly, False Lights doesn’t qualify as a masterpiece. But Soft Hearted Scientists have the capability of creating one someday.    


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