80’s Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/ Bands ~ Sideway Look

sideway_lookEd-FM played Sideway Look’s “Unlock The Capital” a few weeks ago. Shortly after, a musical friend sent me one of their songs and urged me to investigate their music more fully. I did, and found a very competent, talented band who I never knew existed. I have a feeling there are a lot of other people out there that have never heard of them, either. Now you have.

I have read a couple of reviews that compare this band to Big Country (another “criminally underrated” band for another day), but I hear only a slight resemblance. The only real connection between the two bands is that they both originated from Scotland. After that, their signature sounds are very distinct. As long as we are splitting hairs, there are actually more influences I hear from the likes of Armoury Show, Big Dish, and Simple Minds.

The band was made up of Colin Thom (guitar, harmonica, keyboards, vocals), Brian Smith (vocals. guitar, keyboards), John Baird (bass, accordion), Johnny O’Neill (keyboards), and Iain Hardie (drums, percussion). The band manages to employ many instruments to keep their sound varied and interesting. Accordion – need I say more? The vocals are beautiful, harmonious, and expressive.

Once again, the Internet is a vast wasteland when trying to put together a comprehensive history of Sideway Look. I guess it’s safe to assume they formed in Scotland shortly before their eponymous release in 1984, and broke up after releasing Taming The Blade in 1988. If anyone has any other historical tidbits to offer, please feel free to leave a comment.


Knowing You From Today” (audio only) via YouTube user JAMR1977:

Taming the Blade” via YouTube user ELMELO80:

Hungry Waters” (feat. Karen Rix – audio only) via YouTube user JAMR1977:

Is This Tomorrow” (audio only) via YouTube user tadeuz30:


As with many of the Criminally Underrated artists/ bands, Sideway Look’s music appears to be out of print. To purchase Sideway Look music, you can start your search here.  Also, try here.


sw1Sideway Look (1984)





sw2Taming The Blade (1988)