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South maintain a grip-like hold at 93 Feet East


Story: Jack Foley

AT LONG last the wave of hype surrounding South looks to be gaining momentum.

When last we caught up with them, at London's ICA in March this year (2003), Joel Cadbury, Jamie McDonald and Brett Shaw were trialling new material from the forthcoming album, With The Tides, yet the finishing touches were still being applied.

At 93 Feet East, on Wednesday, July 23, however, fans were given a greater insight into what to expect - and have every reason to feel excited.

A tight, 45-minute set yielded several new tracks, as well as some old classics, and carried a great vibe throughout a typically intimate evening.

South, it seems, could be on the verge of big things - a point given added impetus by the presence of XFM's Zoe Ball in the crowd.

Kicking off with a new track, South then got everyone going with a couple of tracks from their debut album, From Here On In, including the timeless favourite, Paint The Silence, and the mesmerising Live Between The Lines, with its shimmering guitars and building drum beat remaining as beguiling as ever.

And then came the new stuff. The new single, Loosen Your Hold, was typical of the quality we have come to expect; a slow-builder, which plays up to the talents of all three members of the band - Joel's vocals being offset by Jamie's in the background, while Brett Shaw's drums maintaining a good background beat.

Sadly, there were no banjos on stage, but the guitars were as strong as ever, which is a feature of the sound to expect from South.

All three are accomplished musicians and their melodies consistently underline a wealth of talent just waiting to be discovered.

Another new single, Colours in Waves, is another excellent taster - a heavier, more anthemic track, which was also played at The ICA, and which bears all the hallmarks of another single.

If bands such as Longview and Athlete can secure a foothold in the mainstream (and deservedly so), then South should have no problem stepping up alongside them - it just needs that final push.

Similarly, tracks such as Fragile Lay display a more adventurous side to the band's songwriting of late, mixing things up a little and tossing in a slightly surprising chorus, which breaks from anything that could be deemed 'the South sound'.

The night concluded with the traditional encore, and a cover version of a Nick Drake classic, and what is rapidly becoming one of the band's signature tunes, Dolphins Were Junkies - their guitar makeover of Ian Brown's Dolphins Were Monkeys.

It marked an interesting watershed. Having been lucky enough to interview the guys before the gig, they spoke of being a lot tighter and more controlled on this second album, praising the guidance of Dave Eringa, who serves as producer.

And this tightness was displayed throughout the main part of the set - with the new songs shorter and crisper in length (the album, apparently, clocks in at just under 45 minutes), and the general attitude seeming a little more co-ordinated (there was no instrument-swapping or role changes, as in earlier gigs).

With Dolphins Were Junkies, however, the band could finally let go; sure in the knowledge that the hard part was over and that, as ever, the fans had been won over by another quality set.

The album is due for a release later this year, or early next, while the single, Loosen Your Hold, will be available to buy on August 11.

In the meantime, fans can do their part in helping to get it noticed, by emailing both Radio 1 and XFM and requesting that Djs play it.

This can be done by clicking onto the revamped website - link opposite - and following the request links (you can also hear the new single, if you haven't done so already).

IndieLondon will, of course, be bringing you all the latest news surrounding the release of new material (including reviews), as well as an exclusive interview carried out with the band before the gig on Wednesday.

 

 

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