Brand new and fresh, Sidelines is a five-member band with music that lives on the border between post hardcore, rock and alternative styles. Their debut self-titled EP Sidelines released in March of 2016 is a collection of handpicked songs from a larger collection of the band’s demos. Joshua and Kiran, two of the band members, were the lead songwriters, but each band member had some input and the record is a collective effort from all five artists.
Joshua’s screaming vocals blast unfettered in the very first seconds of “Drowning in Smoke” a high-energy opener that pulls no punches. Layered vocals, distorted guitars, lightning-paced drums and unearthly sound effects transport the listener to an epic, powerful place. Aside from a brief subsiding of volume in the middle of the song, this track constantly peaks in dynamic vitality.
“The Hatchet” is molded in the same way that “Drowning in Smoke” was, yet the chaos is a bit more controlled. A steady beat and traditional rock chording is used to provide a solid base soundscape for Joshua’s voice to thrive upon. After five different versions of the tune, Sidelines finally landed on the right mix and composition of “Icy Veins” that made the EP. Such dedication paid off and this song is definitely a highlight of the record being both emotive and catchy.
A somber intro starts “Short Walk” at a slow, wistful pace. Ethereal guitars quickly give way to more in-your-face distortion and pounding percussion more typical of the rock band that Sideline embodies. Joshua showcases his melodic singing voice in this song and he sounds equally at home singing and screaming.
The EP comes to a close with “To Make a Cloud” a track that continues in the same stylistic vein as the previous songs on the record. From start to finish, Sidelines flashes with sounds and musical color usually unheard in debut releases. However, the band’s obvious chemistry and their natural knack for music performance make this album a serious contender in the music industry.
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