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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
From Here On In
Kinetic Records

Rating: 7.5/10 ?

March 28, 2002
South have a couple of things going for them, not the least of which is the undeniable knack for orchestrating charming pop songs. Aside from the simple gift of talent, they're also blessed with a cultural music barometer of sorts. The perfect blending of poignant, soulful guitar and mellow synthetic beats on From Here On In couldn't be more properly pitched for the musical climate (at least on this side of the pond) in early 2002, which is somewhat ironic considering the album was written more than two years ago. Mixing artistic insight with catchy pop hooks is nothing new, and South work territory that often overlaps with that mapped out, at least in a popular sense, by Damon Gough's Badly Drawn Boy. There are mixtures of organic and synthetic ideas that, like many of the Beggars Group artists, create a direct connection to the experience of being an analog artist in the middle of a digital revolution.

For the most part, South (who should have known that no fewer than one other band - on the Jajaguwar label - share the same name) craft modern pop songs that are distinctly from the UK, mixing together a hodgepodge of sounds that generally ends up working fantastically well, especially in the forum of stereo headphones. Imagine, if you will, a cut-and-paste style of contemporary artistry that comes across like a more dusty Stone Roses fronted by Noel Gallagher, tossed in a blender with The Inspiral Carpets and a pinch of DJ Shadow. The sound is pretty Brit-centric, but there are enough electronic and atmospheric inclusions to make it interesting long after tea time.

Occasionally the trio's amalgamations sound a bit forced, as they do on the remix of "All In For Nothing", a somewhat raunchy blend of a bass loop and atmospheric sounds that sounds more like the score to a cheesy drug scene in a hack Pulp Fiction B-movie ripoff than it does as a functional part of this particular album. The tide is quickly turned back in the proper direction, however, with the following track Here On In, a jangly day-after barroom ballad with accented female vocals, and the point of the "All In For Nothing" remix is better made, and expanded upon, in "Sight Of Me". The bass line again builds an overt framework, samples and sounds are laced in from the outside, and dusty English vocals wrap the edges nicely. The original version of "All In For Nothing" is much more solid and could easily be the crown jewel of the entire album, mixing the guitar work with digital zooms and samples in a much more coherent manner.

Always gentle and charming, generally sweeping yet not afraid to be captivating when it needs to be, From Here On In can easily satisfy a wide range of modern pop connoisseurs.

Reviewed by Eric J Herboth
Eric J. Herboth is the founder, publisher and Managing Editor of LAS magazine. He is a magazine editor, freelance writer, bike mechanic, commercial pilot, graphic designer, International Scout enthusiast and giver of the benefit of the doubt. He currently lives in rural central Germany with his two best friends, dog Awahni and cat Scout.

See other reviews by Eric J Herboth



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