Hyde & Beast - "Slow Down"
Comprising of Futureheads' Dave Hyde and Neil Basset, the former Golden Virgins drummer, Hyde & Beast promises to be one of those cross pollinated musical hybrids, that much like The Last Shadow Puppets, manages to provide a couple of talents an outlet for their excess creativity, whilst producing a very entertaining and accessible album in the process. Far from the self indulgence that might result from some side projects, "Slow Down" takes inspiration from the likes of T-Rex and The Kinks, and utilising the mildly psychedelic palette this creates, paints a swirling vision of pop from another age. Here's our track by track, breakdown of what to expect from "Slow Down" (out 15th August on Tail Feather Records).
Opener "Never Come Back" is a rousing Northern anthem complete with what sounds like a marching band's worth of brass, to get listeners in the mood, its chorus sounding like an invitation to join a 1970s street party for some sweetly patriotic occasion or another. "If You Could Buy Me Anything", is perhaps, a convincing nod to the warmth of Kinks' "Waterloo Sunset" or "Sunny Afternoon". "All Because Of You" follows in similar vein, adding glam-rock harmonies, and an unwinding guitar line that seems to self perpetuate as the song progresses. "You Will Be Lonely" borrows from Mungo Jerry's "Pushbike Song" beginning with its vocal percussion, a simple song constructed around some toe tapping twangy guitars, and more inspired vocal harmonies. So, four tracks in and this is already a crowd pleaser, but equally not like anything else you'll probably hear on 6 Music and the like this Summer. "Trees Are Falling" is a slightly more minimalist piece of songwriting, but no less atmospheric with some Bolanesque reverse delay guitar maintaining the mood. "Last Chance For A Slow Dance" gives us more of the Bolan influenced guitar work, using the same sort of octave layered fuzz that T-Rex used so effectively on tracks such as "Ballrooms Of Mars" and soulful backing vocals that also pay homage to the Electric Warrior's legacy. "(And The) Pictures In The Sky" gets it on with a 1970s, low, wasp-like, hovering guitar line coming in at 1:40. The album seems to enter its third section here, with "Wolfman Blues", a sort of discordant kazoo jam which introduces the more Beatles like "Lord, Send For Me", with longful yet summery harmonies. "Go To Sleep" is a short sketch of a song, leading neatly to final track "Louis' Lullaby", a slow, mellow piece that almost crosses into Flaming Lips' territory at points, but still wearing its 60-70s influences on its sleeve. The organic enthusiasm behind this project really shines through. In terms of production, Hyde and Basset have captured the sound of an era perfectly, possibly aided by the album being made in Basset's own studio, with a refreshingly analogue sounding setup. Despite the mass of referential material here the album sounds as fresh, as almost anything you're likely hear this year. Pulling out more subtle qualities, than others who have made reference to the same period, has produced an amazingly smooth album, with real soul, that almost pours into the ears. This is a near perfect measure of summer pop, but equally, a very interesting exercise in the appropriation of existing musical styles. Whether you're banging a gong, or lazing on a sunny afternoon, this deserves a place on the soundtrack of your Summer. Find out more at www.hydeandbeast.co.uk