'The Sideways' - Can’t Wait to Arrive Somewhere (album)
Clearly no-one would ever set up a band just to try and get a feature in Nordic Music Review (in fact, I'm pretty sure some bands have split up due to the shame of it), but if they did there is actually a pretty simple formula - give yourself an Indie sounding band name beginning with 'The', send us an already released album direct and not via a PR company, write melodic Indie Pop somewhere between the sound of 'Delay Trees' and 'Teenage Fanclub' and make sure the very first few seconds of the album have jangly guitars aplenty. Norwegian band 'The Sideways' have followed pretty much exactly the magic formula and their new album 'Can’t Wait to Arrive Somewhere' has become an immediate favourite, with 9 really well written tracks, each packing huge melodies and backed by a perfect blend of indie instrumentation.
So who are ‘The Sideways’? Well they describe themselves as coming from the ‘industry capitals in the fjords of middle Norway’, and ‘Can’t Wait to Arrive Somewhere’ is their 2nd album, which follows on from their self-titled debut, unsurprisingly called 'The Sideways, if you haven’t worked that out already. Clearly influenced by melodic pop and rock from across the decades, the 5 piece seem happy to blend together 60’s sounds from The Beatles and from some of our favourite 90s bands, but there’s a depth too with some interesting deviations thanks to a hint of warped psychedelia, and clearly these guys have great fun perfecting the exact 'retro' sounds. Am I building them up too much?? I really don’t think so, because I've grown to love this album so much.
It all opens with ‘Solan’, and within seconds I’m as happy as a clam, jangly indie guitars immediately get the melodies going, and tuneful soft vocals add the loveliest of tunes, whilst a keyboard adds a counter theme which immediately reminds me of our favourite band ‘The Stillwalkers’. But it’s the instrumental section and keyboard contributions that add a different texture, with that slightly off-kilter psychedelic influence already apparent. In ‘I’ll be Gone' I thought there was almost too much going on instrumentally at first, but it all bubbles along attractively whilst the lyrics, albeit simple enough, ('‘I can't tell you where to go next, but if you go I’ll go too’'), add to the indie charm. ‘Something New’ pushes the music towards dazed psychedeila, blurred guitars and keyboard, before a dreamy vocal, stripped of everything but guitar sets out a melancholy tune, and then inevitably it crescendo's to a blur of blissful instrumental sounds - I think it’s a pretty effective detour. ‘Can’t Wait’ opens with a warped ‘Teenage Fanclub’ riff, another killer tune and fuzzy guitars accompanied by wonky keyboards, it's all irresistible stuff.
It’s an impressive enough opening 4 tracks, but whilst sometimes albums fade in their middle sections, 'Can’t Wait to Arrive Somewhere' has a completely splendid middle section of tracks, starting with ‘As I Drove Off’ which builds to a quite wonderfully long instrumental section, and then my favourite of all, the brilliant ‘Hiding in Plain Sight’, with harmonies and tunes that just seem to get added to yet more harmonies and tunes, and it should really be an Autumn hit across Norway and beyond. But just when I assume that the album must have reached a peak, they wheel out a string quartet with the utterly gorgeous ‘A Man Behind Glass’, which gradually builds with thoughtful lyrics and yet another bitter sweet melody. The album concludes nicely with the reflective 'The End', but I just don't want it to be, as I could listen to this band pretty much all day.
OK, so music experts may spot some imperfections, and there’s certainly a lot going on instrumentally, but I love both the ambition and the delivery of 'Can’t Wait to Arrive Somewhere', which is getting pretty close to Indie Pop / Rock perfection in my eyes. How many times have I said ‘it’s all about the tunes innit’ and 'The Sideways' without question write the absolute best that’s out there. Tracks such as ‘Hiding in Plain Sight’ and ‘A Man Behind Glass’ are just sensationally good, and this is destined to be a ‘forever favourite’ at Nordic Music Review – we are lucky people indeed to get sent this stuff pretty much hand delivered to our inbox. We really hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we do.
Nordic Music Review 9/10
Please check out the new single from our friends in the above referenced Finnish band 'The Stillwalkers'. It's called 'Concrete Heart' and it just grows and grows and grows... here.