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.

Kev Rowland 7/10