Sunday, 23 December 2012

Hyde & Beast - Slow Down

Drummers of the world unite and take over. Sunderland rock royalty join forces for some gentle psychedelia.

Let's face it, in rock history there's a fair number of bands in which the drummer was the coolest member – Meg White, Charlie Watts, The Band's Levon Helm. Hell, even Ringo was the most engaging raconteur on the Beatles Anthology mega-fest from a few years ago. So when the drummers from two of the north east's most respected bands decided make an album together the result should be well worthy of attention. And so it is with Slow Down, the resulting album made by Dave Hyde (from The Futureheads) and Neil Bassett aka Beast (formerly of The Golden Virgins).

The album title perhaps referencing the difference in tempo between the material here and the more up-tempo offerings of their other/previous bands. Rather than being a percussion-heavy indulgence, the pair have instead produced a laid-back, experimental and fun set of simple, 3-chord songs completely at odds with any current trends. In fact they owe more to the late 60's, early 70's proto glam of T-Rex, and the homespun, feet-finding recordings of Paul McCartney's first solo album McCartney

Click over the jump for more on Slow Down.
Each track is distinct and un-formulaic, though if there is a signature sound it's defined by slow plod beats, charmingly cheap and gnarly guitar tones, and falsetto backing vocals. The occasional backwards guitar solo add some gentle psychedelic warmth to the whole thing, slightly trippy but in a way that you'll still make it home for your tea.

Album opener and lead single “Never Come Back” begins with softly vamped piano chords leading into ingenious time signature changes and brassy chorus. It's also hellishly catchy and contains some delicious vocal harmony arrangements.

“You Will Be Lonely” is aided by contributions on bass and guitar from Field Music's David Brewis and solo artist and also ex Golden Virgin Lucas Renney. They also make an appearance on “Lord Send For Me”, a lovely pulsating folk-blues with tastefully executed harmonies.

All the songs are originals except for their cover of Medicine Head's “(And The) Pictures In The Sky”, a glorious digging out of a long lost blues rock gem.

“Wolfman Blues” sounds like inebriated guests have hi-jacked the instruments at a late night wedding reception, (I mean that in a good way), and a dead-ringer for an outre White Album out-take with it's lovely Macca-esque bass-line, and wobbly piano.

The pair will be making some live appearances over the late summer including a set at Sunderland's Split Festival where their live band will be swelled to a six strong line-up. If you can't make it to that, content yourself with this unique and lovely album. Originally made for their own pleasure, thankfully now getting an official release on their own newly formed label. Kick back and dig in!