Cardiff’s baroque psychedelic ensemble Soft Hearted Scientists are seven albums in already: like its predecessor The Slow Cyclone, this is wilfully loose, relaxed and home-made. Yet they examine more ideas than many bands have in a lifetime. It’s so laid-back that it never makes you work too hard, but you know you’re in safe (never boring) hands. Listen with languor – and wit, beauty and observation will emerge.
They’re as much Beta Band as Syd Barrett, often loping along with a wry shrug. The songs slide easily from acoustic riverside musings to electric outer-space sojourns, pulled together by their dry humour. Its stoner perceptions include a hymn to the joys of hibernation, dreamlike expeditions through Welsh mountains and London’s concrete, a pop at Simon Cowell, a strange confrontation with a police helicopter and the fascinating shape of jellyfish.
It’s like sitting in a vintage music hall with peeling walls and finding the whole thing amusing and illuminating beyond all reasonable expectation. Lesser outfits might deliver this British eccentricity in a way that irritated your last nerve, but this is a charmer. The omens are good. They’re golden.