» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

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
Adventures in the Underground Journey to The Stars
Young American

Rating: 7.5/10 ?

March 8, 2006
South, who hail from England, emerged right around the time Coldplay came onto the Britpop scene, and they were understandably overshadowed by the "Yellow" rockers. This is their 3rd album, and make no doubt that it is, at times, quintessentially English and melodramatic. The London group has drawn rightful comparisons to the mawkish Mr. Paltrow and company, but to their credit South has always been more breathy, and indie minded than Coldplay's arena wuss-pop. So while their countrymen have grown to worldwide dominance, the main claim to sorta-fame for South is their placement a year or so back on a soundtrack for teenie-bopper soap opera The OC. Take that to the fucking bank.

While South have toiled for a few albums they have not yet to hit the huge payoff, but it's not their fault. Both of their previous albums, From Here on In, and With The Tides, featured a couple of damn good, accessible pop songs that could easily hold their weight alongside all the Snow Patrols lurking about, and Adventures in the Underground Journey to The Stars (which sounds like the title from some absurd 70's prog rock album) starts with such an accessible cut, "Shallow". Despite a ridiculously long and unnecessary intro, the track has a deceptively subtle quality. While Joel Cadbury maintains his breathy vocal style and uses a hushed delivery, it's the music - the hypnotic and building guitar part, the propulsive, popping bass and drums that loop like a techno song - that worms its way into the subconsciousness. "A Place in Displacement" is a similarly driving song, proving that South have a knack for building cuts that explode with melody as it rushes to the chorus. Just as the hook comes in there's some dense atmospheric back up and a wall of sound that recalls the other English groups like Ride.

Granted, subtle and subdued is a route that South has taken before, but they've also managed to mix it up a bit. "Up Close and Personal" rocks with paranoid energy; it begins with a tinkling of playful keys and evolving into a panicked rocking number that is some of the loudest stuff the group has ever released. Likewise, "You Are One" begins with a sonic blast before settling down a bit and then picking back up again. However, not all ventures into new territory turn out so well. "Safety in Numbers," with it's harpsichord-esque intro, falls short and "Know Yourself" is a pretty lame love song, accented with guest female vocals, and comes up unfortunately with a vaguely Up With People-ish hippy vibe.

Even with a couple of clunkers, "Adventures in the Underground Journey to The Stars is without question South's best effort to date simply because it has done more to command the listener's attention. They band has traded the atmospheric background tracks of the last albums for songs that are more memorable and, ironically, stand a better chance of latching on to the large-scale marketing success that has eluded them thus far. With more than a few standout tracks on this new album, it's a distinct possibility they'll get their due.

Reviewed by Dan Williams
A staff writer based in Brooklyn, New York, Dan Williams is a frequent contributor to LAS magazine. He once lived in Köln, Germany for a semester, is currently persuing his MBA in New York, and recently switched sides and began working as a publicist for Special Ops Media in New York.

See other reviews by Dan Williams



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