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Album Review: Hyde & Beast - 'Slow Down'

It’s a ‘supergroup’ with two drummers – and it’s great

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

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