Old friends to release their debut album

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After years building up their sound, musicians in a North Kirklees band are ready to unleash their debut album.

Dear Friends will release Tales from the Den on January 29, and are throwing an album launch bash the day after in Leeds.

The indie-folk five-piece is made up of old friends aged 26-38, primarily from Birstall, Cleckheaton and Mirfield.

Vocalist and guitarist Karl Sykes, 34, of Mirfield, said: “Some of the songs are about really good friends that have died in the last few years, some are about really good life experiences. Some of them are about nothing – one is a made-up story of a soldier.”

Members are keyboard player James Reid, guitarist Chris Parkinson from Cleckheaton, Karl Sykes, drummer Matthew Odell and Birstall bass player Fraser Mann.

They got the keys for their studio space in Batley around 2011 after Karl re-united with Chris, who had been travelling in Australia. But the band began in earnest after Karl – a science teacher at Wakefield City Academy – met multi-talented keyboard player James Reid on a teacher training course.

Karl said: “We’ve got four-part harmonies. Everybody apart from Matt sings. It’s like nothing we’ve done before. It’s really adventurous for us is this. We’ve previously never attempted to do anything that’s as dynamic.”

And two songs from the 11-track release feature production work from Mike Heaton and Mickey Dale of British alternative band Embrace.

“It’s been really odd because we’ve been in bands for so long that you don’t promote it anymore. With this band we’ve found people are approaching us. That’s been really nice” Karl said.

Dear Friends has been influenced by bands such as Elbow and Fleet Foxes.

People can now hear three tracks from the upcoming album at https://soundcloud.com/dear-friends-1/sets/tales-from-the-den-promo.

Tales from the Den is also available to pre-order from iTunes.

Karl said: “We’ve had a couple of little EPs out already. We kind of just thought well we’re getting old now – let’s just write a full album. It was to prove we could do it for ourselves really.”

Tickets for the launch gig at the Wardrobe in Leeds, £5, can be bought from www.lunatickets.co.uk

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/dearfriendsmusic