Monday, 4 August 2008

ALBUM: South – You Are Here (Genepool Records/Universal)

Singers with such distinctive voices as Joel Cadbury’s can sometimes become annoying with their incessantly soft tones or unusual inflections. By the end of South’s fourth record, ‘You Are Here’, Cadbury’s timbre may grate a bit but anything other than his voice would destroy the whole sonic aesthetic of the Sussex trio a fair bit.

And besides, after hearing opening track ‘Wasted’, I’m sure you’ll agree we can all see past this trivial matter, right? Off the top of my head, I can’t think of such a beautiful start to the record and when Cadbury sings the line “Tired of getting wasted” in such a genuine, dejected manner – well, brace yourselves because it’s heart melting, sigh-inducing stuff. Unfortunately, the rest of the record doesn’t maintain the same level of quality, with both ‘Open Up’ and ‘Better Things’ bringing you down from the clouds with a bump, albeit one with a cushioned landing.

At 14 tracks and nearly 50 minutes, this record is a little overlong and grows tiresome quite quickly. Only a handful of tracks are really worth bothering with here – namely the aforementioned ‘Wasted’; oddly cheery ‘The Pain’ (which also slightly recalls Smashing Pumpkins, lyrically speaking); poetic electro-funk twist ‘She’s Half Crazy’ and the surprising, beautiful ‘Every Light Has Blown’, which harks back to the gorgeous start to the record.

If it were a little shorter and a little less MOR, ‘You Are Here’ could be a fantastic record; as it stands, it’s a mediocre attempt that starts promisingly yet by the end has become predictable and tired. Perhaps by focusing on creating more of the gentler, spine tingling tracks, South would have a more accomplished record under their belts instead of one that sounds like, for the most part, James Blunt doing a really awful parody of The Cooper Temple Clause.

Standout Track: Wasted

Rhian Daly