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    Hyde & Beast

    Heartbreak: we’ve all been there, and none more so than the soul-bruised, psychedelic duo, Hyde And Beast. The pairing previously referenced as The Futureheads’ Dave Hyde and Neil Bassett of The Golden Virgins have been through the mill in the past 12 months. But somehow, a bracing episode of bereavement, personal loss and despair has seen the band at their most productive: the drummer-turned-songwriting duo have delivered their most emotionally heavyweight recordings to date in the shape of second studio album, Keep Moving, which is set for release on Tail Feather Records via Caroline International in August.


    “It’s been a difficult time for us,” says Bassett, talking from his Sunderland studio – a “womb-like” project space, furnished entirely in burgundy, windowless, and the scene to their most recent recording sessions. “We’ve both been through relationship break-ups and I’ve lost someone close to me. All that came out in the album. The songs are very happy-sounding, but the mood is melancholic – kind of like The Jackson 5’s I Want You Back, or Tears Of A Clown by Smokey Robinson.”


    This focus represents one of several steps forward for Hyde And Beast. The pair first became friends when both The Futureheads and The Golden Virgins emerged from Sunderland’s underground scene at similar times.


    “We just ended up at each other’s shows or playing gigs in the same places,” says Bassett. “We started to hang out and found we both had the same love for slightly obscure 60s and 70s bands. We had a similarly strange taste in music, like Ethiopian soul. That morphed into us going into my studio and larking around to make music we liked, quite odd music actually.”


    Their debut album, 2011’s Slow Down, was an accidental and unexpected treasure: a clutch of tracks which arrived with a distinctive, 1970s Californian hue, marrying the Beach Boys’s pop smarts to low-fi psychedelia, orchestral arrangements and quirky rhythms. The songwriting was done in a haze. “We were clowning around, getting a bit drunk and whatnot,” says Hyde. “We thought we’d make two copies of the album – one for me and one for Neil.”


    The subsequent recordings gathered momentum once the band teamed up with some fans in the music industry to form their own label Tail Feather Records. Even without major label backing, Slow Down became a warmly-received release from an interesting side project, though that job description was quickly redundant. Hyde And Beast became a full-time concern following on from a burst of acclaim, radio support and several festival appearances.


    “We knew we were going to make a second record,” says Bassett. “When we made the first one and someone said they wanted to release it, we thought they were nuts, but it was nice to know that people liked it. The thing is, Keep Moving was the first album we’ve made where we’ve known we were making a record, so it’s been a more serious process. There was more pressure. It wasn’t so much of a party for me making this one as Slow Down was, which was just… well, a party.”


    The fruits of this new-found focus is an album that draws together infectious pop hooks and instantly memorable choruses seemingly synched to festival campfire playlists, most notably on the carousing Crosby, Stills & Nash-infused piano riffs of Open Your Heart. Says Hyde: “It’s got the lyric, ‘Would you Adam and Eve it?/ Believe that it’s true/ I could never believe it when you said we were through.’ It’s asking someone to open up and let it out, to talk – it’s about breaking up with your missus.”


    Then there’s the vaudeville rhythms of Like I’m Grass.”We leaned on that sound in the first album too,” says Bassett. “The recurring theme was the soundtrack to the musical film, Bugsy Malone. It’s a sound that carries a certain rhythm – slightly vaudeville, slightly jazzy.”


    “Elsewhere, a darker mood comes into play. Suits Me Fine’s Kinksy psychedelia and slide guitar belies a sombre, almost wearily-resigned script, particularly within the line, “If you want to step inside/ Mess around inside my mind/ I’ll be a clown, I won’t ever let you down.” At other times, as on title track, Keep Moving and its standout line – ” it’s alright, because you’re alright ” – the darkness is buoyed by a sense of swimming against the tide; when you’re going through hell, they say, best to keep going.”


    “We didn’t want to leave everything dark,” says Bassett. “Keep Moving is what life’s all about – you keep going, even when things are tough. It’s our way of saying, ‘Despite what’s happened, we’re not sad about things.’ We’re both positive people. We’re both happy. We try to look on the bright side if we can. You always write about what happens to you, so the lyrics are on the downside but they’re sung in an upbeat manner.”

    So despair and hope in one neat little package, then. Somehow, Hyde And Beast have taken their knockabout, late night studio project and turned it into one of the summer’s soon to be worst kept secrets. The story: two drummers, two songwriters and a whole lotta heartbreak. Would you Adam and Eve it?



    For further information please contact Alix Wenmouth (print) or Meliz Gokturk (online) at Wasted Youth PR on 0203 227 0430 or email /