We really want to thank the following venues and organisers that have put up with our din.
Friday 2nd November 2018 at the Darkroom Espresso, Swindon.
Saturday 25th May 2019 at The Regent, Swindon
A review of our new album from Claire Dukes at The Ocelot appeared this week:
Aha, where do I begin?
I’m gonna make like this electronically explosive album and dive straight in.
Musically there’s not a lot of continuity throughout Reinventing Failure, but on the flip side each song, needless to say, evokes something you’re not prepared for. This won’t work for everyone, but travelling through this… experience, shall we say, No Side Effects do actually pull this off.
Track-wise ‘In Your Brain Right Now’ genuinely made me accuse them, funnily enough, in my head as evil geniuses for nothing more than the fact that this song stayed in my head for days – the irony of it all! Also, my foot, it would seem, is having all the side effects – tapping along to a beat that is not actually audible anymore. It’s funny in a kind of sinister way, and for this reason I’m sold.
Reinventing Failure is a bit of a trip – it’s sonically and lyrically very experimental but at the exact same time it has been excellently produced. This really stands out in Dark Light, Eco-terror, and Pessimonster – I’m eager to find out if this translates the same in a live performance.
I’m hearing influences from Hot Chip and New Order – whether I’m right or wrong doesn’t really matter. The point is: No Side Effects make failure sound fun.
Reinventing Failure is released November 2 – go see them debut the album live at Darkroom Espresso.
Read the full review on The Ocelot website
We at No Side Effects are always grateful for the interest and time taken by a couple of local publications and writers in reviews of our debut album ‘Reinventing Failure’
Different times can conjure different things to different people and when I think of the 1980’s my mind is cast back to watching The A-Team or Buck Rogers, collecting football stickers, wishing for a BMX, eating Highland Toffee and watching Top of The Pops on a Thursday evening.
One thing I noticed, aside from the ‘cool’ people in the studio dancing without a care in the world, was how more and more acts would have keyboards and computer monitors littering the stage and getting in the way of the dry ice, yes, synthesizers had arrived en masse from the prog rock bands of the 1970’s with a palette so broad that if you could imagine a sound, the chances were, someone could create it with the help of a selection of knobs, buttons and sliders. Music was dead. There was panic in music shops up and down the country, skips were filled with Rickenbackers and Fenders because Yamaha, Moog and Casio were the new makers of music and if you wanted to be taken seriously then you had better trade in your chord charts for a programming course at the local polytechnic.
Bands like Pet Shop Boys, Yazoo, Ultravox, Bronski Beat and Human League were dominating the charts but where these bands gave us the plink-plonk-pling of radio-friendly tunes, others chose a darker route. Bands like Joy Division, Depeche Mode and Talking Heads were exploring where these new sounds could take us and, finally, we arrive at No Side Effects.
The debut album from Thomas Haynes and Adrian Wallington challenges the listener to question what makes us human and where we end up when we’re dead. All heavy stuff but it sits naturally in the synth arena and never feels cheesy or gimmicky. On first listen it can feel a bit over-bearing but stick with it because on the second or third listen the songs take on their own character and it then starts to unravel its secrets. The opening track, ‘Anti-Trust’ is a short taster of things to come, I like these sort of tracks at the start of albums, it hints at what is in store for the listener and, if done correctly, can tease you into what treats are to follow, and what is to follow is a vast, cleverly-planned trip into an electric landscape. At times the songs seem a little light on bass, particularly in the earlier tracks of the album but to suggest a pumping drum and bass line would be in total contradiction to what is on offer, but the earlier songs almost work as an evolution towards track five.
When I was given this cd, special attention was made about track five, a song called ‘In Your Brain Right Now’ which, running at 8 minutes, cleverly uses snippets from a lecture by American author and neuroscientist Sam Harris. The music plays between the audio of the lecture (similar to what the Blue Man Group has done in the past) and encourages the listener to breath and take notice of his/her own existence as a living, breathing thing, at one point the vocals echoes the words of Sam Harris and uses them to create backing vocals to good effect. But this song also acts as something of a shift in mood, the following songs, particularly ‘Outstare the Square’ and ‘Pessimonster’ are strong tracks with an energy that will keep most listeners interested and intrigued in equal measure.
‘Dark Light’ – which appears next on the album – recently received attention from BBC Bristol and featured as part of BBC’s Introducing, and rightly so, there is a Depeche Mode feel throughout leading to a powerful trip into what synth music is capable of with a steady, effects-laden bass line and slow burning production.
Actually, the production is the king here, with this much going on it would be easy to miss or misjudge a certain sound or rhythm, but each sound comes through clearly throughout this album. Record production is a labour of love at the best of times but there is a lot of sounds jostling for space. I’ve heard this album through car speakers and headphones and each method is a different experience.
If you fancy listening to some grown-up electronic music with messages that cover isolation, loss, mental health and all things in between, give these guys a listen, you might just find yourself going back for more.
Yes, we know, someone else liked our music except our Mums. A big thank you to Radio Berkshire and presenter Linda Serck and her team for playing ‘Dark Light’ on the ‘Introducing’ programme this evening.
Listen to the 1 hour show by clicking this link. Dark Light is featured on our debut album to be released on 2nd August 2018. We also have a music video of the single.
We would like to thank all the independent blogs and people that have supported us
“Newbury, Berks-based duo Tom Haynes and Ade Wallington share this six-minute track of ambient electronics taken from their forthcoming album ‘Reinventing Failure’. Released last week, it mixes electronic synth and keys into a dark pop ambience. Star rating: ★★★☆☆”
“What I love most about the mercurial and enigmatic No Side Effects is their ability to mix two opposing sounds into a cohesive finished product. On the one hand their synth driven sound is as futuristic and clinical as it comes but it is the dreamy ambience they fashion from those digital building blocks that provides the balance; a haunting and ethereal vibe that is neatly subverts expectations. The result is the sound of the ghost in the machine, technology seemly acquiring emotion, a binary heart beating within the depths of the code and algorithms.
And it is this blend of solidity and intangibility that is the intriguing part, two alien worlds coming together and building a third possibility, a Vangelis-like soundtrack for another, as yet unwritten futuristic noir. If films have suggested possible futures as gleaming utopias or dystopian nightmares, maybe this suggests a more realistic meeting of man, mind and machine. Then again they could just be a couple of guys having fun in the studio. I suspect both are true.”