Hyde & Beast
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Hyde & Beast

Sunderland, England, United Kingdom | INDIE

Sunderland, England, United Kingdom | INDIE
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"Hyde & Beast - Slow Down 7/10 - "The album sounds too big to have been made by just two people.""

Hyde & Beast's debut 'Slow Down' is loose and psychedelic. The product of Dave Hyde and Neil Bassett, the album sounds too big to have been made by just two people.

'Slow Down' is a trick bag of hooks, melodies, a surprisingly low end, and excellent production. Single, and lead track 'Never Come Back' is exemplary of the band's talent. The song begins with a driving four chord piano figure that sounds like a late-era The Band outtake. Airy vocals and simple yet elegant slide guitar float above the piano for a full minute before the band lets out its beast in the form of a full brass band. The brass reappears for each chorus on the song, and a few other times throughout the album.

The second track, slow burning 'If You Could Buy Me Anything' rests on a simple kick drum pattern and a smooth yet rangy guitar line. A set of multi-tracked 'Ooos' and 'Awwws' add a wistful quality to the song. Toward the end of the song Hyde & Beast let their eccentricities shine. A low, almost tantric, vocal drone enters the mix and, mere seconds later, the songs falls apart amidst a some reverse-taped ambient sound.

Overall, Hyde & Beast know how to construct an intriguingly psychedelic sound using primarily staccato piano, late sixties guitar tones, a solid drum beat, and a few well placed studio flourishes. Really these flourishes, such as the additional echos, twinges, and tweaks on 'All Because of You,' that give 'Slow Down' a unique sound.

Yet, at times, Hyde & Beast allow their eccentricities to be overshadowed by their influences. Middle track 'Last Chance for a Slow Dance' rests to heavily on a guitar line and tone that sounds lifted straight from any Beatles album after Revolver. The same problem is shared by '(And The) Pictures in the Sky,' the following track. 'Wolfman's Blues,' a strange squawk and hoot of distortion, voice, and rickety piano, sounds more like Jon Spencer's Blues Explosion and is all the better for it.

Hyde & Beast's psychedelia doesn't derive from weird electronics, as is often the case these days, but from the conscious manipulation of traditional rock and roll instruments and their own studio know-how. An unusual feat unto itself. - This Is Fake DIY


"HMV album review - "their talents have been wasted in their day jobs""

The side project of two of the North East's best sticksmen, the Futureheads' Dave Hyde and the now defunct Golden Virgins' Neil Bassett (who makes the transition to lead vocalist), Hyde & Beast's debut album, Slow Down, couldn't be more aptly titled, as there isn't an angular guitar riff or post-punk rhythm to be heard on a languid and carefree collection of blissful acid blues and glam rock tracks that hark back to the post-flower power era of Captain Beefheart, the Velvet Underground, and T. Rex. The self-produced first release through their own Tail Feather Records label even includes a cover version of Medicine Head's "(And The) Pictures in the Sky," but their retro intentions don't need to be signposted so obviously, as the layers of winding guitar solos, summery harmonies, and sprawling rhythms are more than enough to convince audiences of their psychedelic credentials. Indeed, other than the Primal Scream-esque acid house grooves of "Lord, Send for Me" and the gorgeous hymnal post-rock of "Louis' Lullaby," Slow Down could quite easily be mistaken for a long-lost relic from the late '60s/early '70s, such is its effortless authenticity, from the hazy country-tinged "You Will Be Lonely" to the nagging jaunty piano hooks, oompah-band beats, and brass band theatrics of opener "Never Come Back" to the sparse autumnal folk of "Trees Are Falling." Other than the nonsensical kazoo-led instrumental "Wolfman Blues," a slightly misguided attempt to showcase their sense of humor, the album shows little traces of its spur-of-the-moment improvised jam session conception, and while it might leave fans of their respective bands a little puzzled, it's an accomplished first offering suggesting that their talents have been wasted in their day jobs. ¯ Jon O'Brien - HMV.com


"BBC - Perfectly accessible gems from one Futurehead and a Golden Virgin."

The side-project of The Futureheads drummer David Hyde and ex-The Golden Virgins tubthumper Neil Bassett has hallmarks of their day jobs, but it's defined by a blasé, playful approach. With snatches of piano stabbing, loose and lazy guitar licks and falsetto backing vocals, we're drawn into the duo's slightly psychedelic world.
Initially, a lot of these songs sound like they're dragging their feet or meandering on purpose. But there are far too many wonderfully potent moments. The harmonious voices on If You Could Buy Me Anything draw the lilting elements into a gorgeous, psychedelia-scorched ballad. There's hints of whimsy too on You Will Be Lonely, which throws in everything from helium vocals ("You keep on knocking but you can't come in!") to fiery blues solos. It's tempting to cite the glorious multi-faceted work of Sunderland's Brewis brothers – otherwise known as Field Music – as an influence. It wouldn't be surprising thinking about their geography, and David Brewis being a one-time Futurehead.
Unlike Field Music though, there's nothing complicated about these mid-paced, pretty and often lolloping songs. It's into this simplicity that the two manage to filter their distinctive chops. Skipping and hopping guitars blend with the requisite amount of harmonies; oohs and aahs are brandished with pride. Then there's the unexpected blasts of 60s and 70s inspiration upon these templates. So we hear cheeky brass on Never Come Back, early Quo lead breaks – especially on (And the) Pictures in the Sky – while the instrumental Wolfman Blues sounds sozzled and broken, off-key and out of step with itself. What definitely isn't here is the spikiness associated with either members’ other projects.
No song is over three-and-a-half minutes, the perfect length for tracks that could easily break out into ill-advised blues jams if left to fend for themselves for too long. Instead, Hyde & Beast nip things in the bud, taming tracks into perfectly accessible gems. Despite the pace of the album never going beyond a stroll, it's the eloquence of delivery and jabs at homage that prevent them from trudging along uninspired or descending into polite pastiche. Sure, there will be a great deal you'll have heard parading in records from a once-golden era, along with those more recent records that try to recapture such a time; but the humour, the brevity and the joy with which it's bundled ensures a quality listen throughout. - BBC Music


"Q Album Review - ***"

The union of Futureheads drummer Dave Hyde and his Golden Virgins counterpart Neil "Beast" Bassett may not be pop's most eagerly awaited, but it might be among the most surprising. Perhaps unexpectedly, the drums are muted and the appositely titled Slow Down is a subtle, gentle collection of originals, plus '70s folk-poppers Medicine Head's (And The) Pictures In The Sky. It evokes the Velvet Underground's more whimsical side, XTC and the more contemporary Bon Iver and Calexico, so Never Come Back merges piano, brass, rampant tambourine and harmonies, while Go To Sleep is Calpol for the soul.

John Aizlewood - Q


"NME album review - "It's a 'supergroup' with two drummers - and it's great" - 8/10"

Oh look! It’s another precocious alt-pop album from a northeast band! It must be a day ending in ‘y’. The latest Mackems to don the mantle of quirk are Dave Hyde from The Futureheads and Neil Bassett from excellent Sunderland ex-band The Golden Virgins. They’re both drummers in their respective outfits, although it barely seems worth mentioning, considering the usual crass stereotypes associated with drummers’ solo efforts; this album is delicate and beautiful, continuing in both bands’ fine tradition of meticulously assembled albums.

The subtle yet unmistakable influence of local indie mafia dons the Brewis brothers weaves its way through ‘Slow Down’ without ever undermining it. David Brewis may only appear on two tracks on the album, but the impact Field Music’s craftsmanship has had on their peers is as apparent on this record as it is on any Futureheads album. From opening track ‘Never Come Back’, this self-released album is sublimely tender and self-reflexive, from the outside bathed in an Americana glow but with the British idiosyncrasies of Arab Strap and more particularly Aidan Moffat and Malcolm Middleton’s respective solo output.

In ‘You Will Be Lonely’ there are hints of Pavement’s more sombre moments as well as the pop eccentricities of The Velvet Underground, while ‘(And The) Pictures In The Sky’ closely resembles the vintage sound of ‘The Blues Are Still Blue’-era Belle And Sebastian. It’s an album very much split between Glaswegian heart-on-the-sleeve songwriting, traditional American folk music and the artistic precision which has come to be associated with the northeast. Forget assumptions – just listen to this record.

Rebecca Robinson - NME


"The Independent - Barometer"

Hyde & Beast - Never Come Back

Irregular time signatures, backwards guitars, music hall pianos and a Salvation Army brass section give this track a real 'Sgt Pepper'-feel. - The Independent


Discography

Single: You Will Be Lonely (UK rel. 14 November 2011)

Album: Slow Down (UK rel. 15 August 2011)

Single: Never Come Back (UK rel. 8 August 2011)

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Bio

Our album was written, played, recorded, engineered, produced and mixed by just the two us in our own studio.

At the time we didn’t realise we were making an album. We were just recording for fun - recording the type of warm, gentle, psychedelic 1970s music that we liked to listen to. But before we knew it, an album was born.

Gaining rave reviews for the record (including 8/10 in New Musical Express) convinced us to take our album on the road. Now when playing live we have become a 6 headed, 12 legged touring band featuring a who’s who of North Eastern musicians including Futureheads’ lead singer Barry Hyde on piano and The Golden Virgins’ front man Lucas Renney on Guitar.

In reviews of the album and live shows, Hyde & Beast have been compared to bands such as T-Rex, The Band, The Beatles and even fellow Sunderland band “Field Music”. All very flattering.

We see Hyde & Beast as being the embodiment of the best parts of American music done in a very English way. Cup of tea?

Hyde & Beast: This is what happens when you let 2 drummers make a record together!