Sideways is the second album by Hard Feelings, though it's the first I've heard from them. It's a really eclectic record that at times sounds like the one of the best bands I've ever heard and at other times leaves me scratching my head a little.
I will say this, the highs on this record are really high and absolutely make it a worthwhile pickup. Opener "Tomorrow Never Knows" and others like "Don't Know You" and "Evildoers" see the band as a fast paced, melodic punk powerhouse. Channeling crunchy guitars and midwestern basement show vibes into a potent blast of hooks. The band is firing on all cylinders and this side of their sound is pretty flawless.
When the band strays from that formula, the results are a bit more scattershot. There are huge successes like "Vision" that brings in a Marked Men meets A Giant Dog vibe. You could argue this is the best song on the album and it's a sheer delight to listen to.
But then there are songs like "Morality" and "Black Skies" that are glammy in a way that reminds me of the aforementioned A Giant Dog as well as the band Napalmpom. These songs really jump out when you're listening to the record and not always in the best way as they sound so different than what came before. I give a ton of credit for making a diverse record with surprises around every corner, but there are songs where, for me, it doesn't come together as well.
Still, the successful songs far outnumber the ones that I don't like as much and Sideways is a bold, inventive record that warrants multiple listens. Each time out it makes a little more sense to me.
Hard Feelings - Sideways