ALBUM REVIEW: Side By Side Vol. 2


Spanning avant-garde jazz, eclectic synthy dream-pop, and hazy shoegaze, Come Play With Me’s compilation ‘Side by Side Volume 2’ celebrates upcoming women and people of marginalised genders in music.

The advantage of a compilation is that in addition to artists and bands you know and love already, there is a chance of discovering your next favourite. Personally I know some of the artists featured but others are completely new to me. Let’s explore.

Opening is Edited People’s ‘Understand’ is a dream of a synthy pop track. This is all about the vocals; the lead vocal is a breathy thing but there are layers and layers of vocals that swirl and intertwine. While I’ve reviewed the band’s music before, this has prompted me to go back to it.

There’s a shift in style but not mood with Elle Bennett’s ‘Good Morning Midnight’. A track that blossoms from gentle voice and guitar to rich pop ballad so so sweetly. Both the music and the vocal are gorgeous. This is one to let yourself go and drift on the sound. Heju’s ‘Sometimes i miss that hotel room’ takes that mood and adds an edge of something being not quite right. This is a track that sneaks up on you, seducing you with subtle synths and a vocal that has an otherworldly feel.

I am tempted to call Boshe’s ‘Take It’ dark synth pop. There’s definitely a dark and moody feel but somehow that description feels inadequate. There’s an unexpected depth to the sound that grabs a hold of your head.

Ah, so here’s one I know, Sunday Lendis’ ‘With Ease’ (read my in-depth review). Sunday’s music is so layered with influences that it’s difficult to describe. It may be jazz based but there are elements of electronica, soul, even hiphop. And through all of this she sings with gentle simplicity, then full fledged jazz vocals, and spoken voice. I love this track; for the words, for the music and the play, and, especially for the vocals.

Eleanor Cully Boehringer’s ‘XII Bells’ is a complex sound piece, a sonic sculpture if you will. Sounds are used to carve out an atmosphere, layered vocals mesmerise and intrigue. And yet through the sonic atmospheres elements of folk and choral music are almost shockingly beautiful.

Now to another artist I don;t know, NAALI Collective Their track ‘Satori’ is the first track I’m not that personally keen on. This is just a personal thing, objectively I know lots of you will love this. They are, if you don’t know them, an eight piece playing avant-garde alt jazz & future soul. Actually the more I listen to it, the more their freewheeling sound intrigues me; I have the feeling it wouldn;t be long before I’m positively raving about them. So for me it’s going to be a grower. For you, it may be immediate the moment you hear that maelstrom of music.

Bizarrefae’s ‘You’ is heavy duty, Slabs of bass heavy synth, hiphop beats, out there words. Words that hit hard, words that are about something and have meaning. This one surprised me, I didn’t expect to like it, yet I found myself drawn to it
It’s been quite a while since I first saw Laura Kindelan playing at a charity event in York. And while her sound may have changed to something more poppy ‘Know You’ still retains those things that attracted me to her music way back when. A careful, crafted approach to her vocals, a frankly lovely arrangement, and then there’s the indefinable charm of her songs.

And then to close we have the huge sound of Pleasure Centre’s ‘Above The Neck’. A track that’s so dense it drowns you in sound. It’s a glorious howl, a drone that invades your head, a sonic meditation.

So there we have it, a fantastic demonstration of the musical talent we have in our county. And that’s the thing that binds the songs on the album together. And then there’s the musical inventiveness, the pushing of boundaries, the obvious musical abilities to be heard.

So push your musical boundaries, discover something new, something you may not have imagined you’d like.

Order downloads and physical copies

The info

Featured artists have been selected by a panel of judges including Amy Illingworth (Sunflower Thieves, Sofar Sounds), Shell Zenner (Amazing Radio), and Scott Lewis (Clue Records), as well as The Warren Youth Project, Yorkshire Sound Women Network and Young Thugs.

Previous articleFESTIVAL NEWS: Tramlines Festival announces 2023 lineup
Next articleEP & TOUR NEWS: Bedsit ‘Dead Bands’ EP out 3 February, UK Tour February & March 2023
Frank is the website guy for Local Sound Focus. Takes a lot of photos and loves writing about new music.