So, a band that consists of drummers. Surely the first thing I should mention is the expectancy behind the album, that it should be a wall of noise filled with elongated drum solos, right? Wrong. The debut album from Sunderland band Hyde & Beast is one to be viewed under its own merit, but it certainly shows that drummers can do plenty more than pull faces and hit things really hard!

The band brings together David Hyde (The Futureheads drummer) and his “beast”, ex-Golden Virgins drummer Neil Bassett. However, you need to know nothing of the pair’s history to understand their love of music, as this shines through their debut album Slow Down. It acts much like a disjointed psychedelic road trip for the modern age, a whistle stop tour of 60’s and 70’s music ending with a contemporary twist.

Those that have heard even snippets of the likes of The Beatles, T-Rex and The Velvet Underground will be in familiar territory here. Rather than being a direct copy and paste, the album acts as more of an appreciation of style. Wonderfully vintage Beatle-esque harmonies are created on the likes of ‘All Because Of You’, with carefully placed layers of vocals. Their cover of Machine Heads ‘(and the) Pictures In The Sky’ suits their style brilliantly, mixing T-Rex style guitar with a hint of Northern twang. It may well be the unashamed use of their accent that keeps this who album feeling fresh. Fresh, yet somewhat familiar. A nice place to inhabit.

The first single to be taken from the album, opener ‘Never Come Back’, is about as jaunty as this album gets. It comes with all instruments blazing, showing the world these drummers are far more than you’d expect. It feels like the track to prove themselves with, complete with piano, strings and brass. But if you are looking for an uplifting album, that is pretty much as far as it goes, bar ‘You Will Be Lonely’. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but much more unexpected than their premier release would insinuate.

If I were to put my neck on the line, I would say that the band’s strength lies within the incredibly gentle. Whilst the majority of the album is filled with dirty guitars, the final two tracks are what stand out the most. ‘Go To Sleep’, the penultimate track, is stripped back, acoustic guitar, harmonies and the odd beat, creating something that feels honest and organic, like watching a band during practice. It is the more modern element of their psychedelic road trip, concise and minimal. The closing track, ‘Louis’ Lullaby’ is little more than an instrumental with harmonised ‘ooohs’ and ‘aaahs’ over the top, but shows the skills and musical knowledge the pair have developed through their careers. Both tracks would certainly not look out of place within the current indie folk scene.

Being called The Futureheads side project is an odd position to be in. Does it pigeon hole you into the world of fast paced indie rock, consistent across its output? Or does it allow you some artistic licence with a well known name in tow? All I know is that Hyde & Beast have unequivocally proved that they are more than just a couple of drummers with an impressive musical background.