South : From Here On In

Debut LP from London guitar band on Mo'Wax

It’s that time again. The small hours of Sunday morning

when the stimulants wear

out and paranoia, melancholy

and introspection step in. That’s where South begin, on this

debut, and then slide into a sometimes ragged sprawl

of a comedown album.

In the grey area between the twin, but not mutually exclusive, worlds of indie and trip-hop, you’ll find Joel Cadbury, Jamie McDonald and Brett Shaw’s version of a future music. And its one where psychedelia, country flourishes, acoustic ramblings and a definite air of Manchester circa 1990 all combine into a mosaic of anger and sadness.

Aside from the three mutant dance ‘Broken Head’ segments, its really ‘Paint The Silence’ that lays the South blueprint here, with a familiarly airy vocal and strange electronic string washes. Melody is key, as songs seem to fall apart and reassemble, and a sense of disquiet takes hold that 22-year-olds should be so depressed.

Rather than howl at all and sundry, though, the anger is directed at individual, if vague, targets. Picture the way ‘By The Time You Catch Your Heart’ anticipates critical brickbats, or even ‘Run On Time’s demands for a more considered response to the songwriter’s emotions, and what emerges, despite all the attitude, is a rather precious trio. Which is their loss and (perhaps) your gain.

Dele Fadele