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.
Sendelica describes their latest album as “a door of perception into the jamming delights of Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, Blue Cheer, Iron Butterfly and The Byrds at the heights of their improvisational prowess.” If they had also added Barrett-era Pink Floyd, Nik Turner and VDGG they may just have nailed it, as this instrumental quintet is definitely bringing back the late Sixties, with jam-driven psychedelic workouts where bass, drums, and synths normally take the back seat to the strident electric guitar and sax. Sendelica have of course been producing great music in Wales for more than a decade now, and during this period they have also been incredibly productive – I note that on Bandcamp if one wishes to get their complete digital discography that amounts to 34 releases!
Here we have three extended workouts, all allowing the guys to flex their musical wings, with Peter Bingham (guitar, electronics) and Lee Relfe (saxophone) taking the lead, ably supported by Glenda Pescado (bass), Meurig Griffiths (drums) and Lord Armstrong Sealand (Theremin & synths). The last guys tend to provide the supporting role which allows the others to go off and take flight, creating new themes and constantly revisiting old ones, all locked in as one. Psychedelic, progressive, exciting, invigorating and full of space this is music that captures a band at home with each other, playing in a live environment. No need for retakes or fancy overdubbing, this is about getting a band in their natural environment and capturing that vibrancy and immediacy for the world to hear.
Although it is available both digitally and on CD, of course, the only way to really hear this is by getting the double vinyl release from Fruits de Mer, where the fourth blank side has been overprinted in UV full-color, a new technique offered by the Record Industry pressing plant (not so much a picture disc, more a disc with a picture on it…). Superb. 8/10
this was a long-lost number from Billy and the boys.
Overall this is a great little release, but it is let down somewhat by the drum production which is far too much to the fore. When the cymbals are louder than the guitars then one can say there is an issue. But fans of the band will undoubtedly lap this up and it certainly has me intrigued to hear more from them.
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 colored 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?
Pre-orders for the next four FRUITS DE MER singles take place as of 19th November, and lovers of late-Sixties style music need to get in there asap so as not to miss out! The Chemistry Set are celebrating their thirtieth anniversary, and have provided two brand new songs which are incredibly diverse in their approach. While “Firefly” is over the top with driven guitars, “Sail Away” is acoustic with wonderful tablas, and neither sounds as if it was recorded in this century. They are delicate, swathed in emotion and purity, creating something very special indeed.
I must confess not to have heard a version of “Watchtower” quite like this before, as it has been deconstructed yet still contains plenty of guitars. It is as if Hendrix never existed, and someone took Dylan’s classic as a base and wondered just what they could do to it yet still keep t recognizable. Spoken words, excerpts, layers of mellotron, treated vocals, acoustic guitar, seagulls, it’s all in there and certainly the song to a totally different level. It is incredibly weird, and brilliant at the same time. “The Doors of Perception” is a new song, which allows Nick to show just how psychedelia can be brought into the modern age.
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.