Sidley Park are a new and upcoming duo based at our very own Lancaster University and they released their debut EP in Autumn 2018, following a series of covers being uploaded to YouTube.

Describing themselves as an indie pop/rock, I took a look at ‘War & Love’ to see what Sidley Park are made of.

The opening and title track ‘War & Love’ is an excellent way to start the EP, with the use of the famous proverb ‘all is fair in war and love’ as the centre of the song. The use of panning in the opening so that the gritty guitar, played by Ben Myles, and the smooth vocals, sung by Susie Clegg, were cleverly distant before unifying in the chorus to create a full band-like sound. By nicely building up in this way, I was drawn in as a listener. The lyrics are a highlight and could have been brought forwards more in the mix to make them more of a feature; however, the small break before the climactic finish of the track tied the whole opening track up well.

Forgetmenot’ immediately offers a pleasant contrast to the opening track – something you don’t often find in a band’s debut release – with the keyboard based opening setting a softer pace of the middle of the EP. What makes this track is Clegg’s voice, as her range and control demonstrate a real skill in her instrument. One thing I would say about this track is that everything felt rather heavy with contrasting effects on every part to give them each a distinctive feel. However, it may have been nice to have some clean sounds aside from the piano so that the musicality of the parts could speak for themselves.

They certainly saved the best for last, with ‘Coming In’ closing the EP with a flourish. The opening repeating bass riff offered a slightly darker feel to the previous two tracks, and most of all the two voices of Myles and Clegg especially came into their own here. Each was distinctive but had complementary tones. To me, this was the most memorable track, with the pure vocalisation towards the end layering over the various riffs to create an excellent end and crescendo to the EP.

Overall, while short, this EP contains some exciting new material, and each track has a unique sound and tone to make them distinctive and entertaining in their own right. I’m going to end on a harsh, but positive note. This is a new group still trying to find their sound, and as with many EP’s, they take their listeners on the journey with them. This EP is full of good stuff, but what I hope to see in the future from Sidley Park is an expansion on these ideas into great things. The potential for an outstanding full album with a professional finish is there; it might just take them some time to get there. They need to keep playing, test out new things, and to release new material as they do so.

I look forward to listening to what they have to play for us next.