It’s often comical how frequently you can predict the precise direction an album will take by just a fleeting glance at the cover and song titles. On seeing tracks such as Seaside Sid And The Giant Squid and Monsters Of The Id, you can take an educated guess before even spinning False Lights that the music will be a homage to Syd Barrett, or even The Dukes Of Stratosphear.
Inevitably, that type of generic psych is exactly what Cardiff act The Soft Hearted Scientists have produced with their fifth album. In spite of that inevitability, there are flashes of class, with the jaunty Seeing and equally upbeat Song From The River enlivening the predictability.
Indeed, the real issue with False Lights is that however well-intentioned, tenderly crafted or performed it is, there’s a nagging déjà vu that inhibits complete appreciation of this music. The reality is that it’s all been done before, and so much better. Lyrically, they take an amusing, modern satirical perspective on what they deem to be society’s woes – whether it’s whaling, banking or Jeremy Clarkson.
Ironically, by politicising their music, they do sometimes merely come across as a hippie version of the latter.