South brings more Brit-pop, but nothing new, to States

Joe Shearer

Credit: Ron Soltys

You ever hear a song so inoffensively serene you immediately imagine yourself lying in bed, falling asleep to the music? The surrounding noises become one with the instrumentation, and finally not too long after, so do you.

British rock group South has a knack for that on its latest album, You Are Here. OK, OK. It’s not quite as mellow and low-key as Jack Johnson, who’s much more minimalist in comparison, but the spacey guitars and vocals definitely lend themselves those ZzZz we crave so much this time in the semester.

Yeah, so if you need to get stuff done — and by stuff, I mean homework, studying, final projects — stay away from this album. Other than that, this British trio turns in a pretty decent sleeper, no pun intended.

The modern psychedelic splash on each track recalls the production battle between Brian Wilson and the Beatles in the mid ’60s. Vocal harmonies and clean sounds on tracks such as “The Pain” and “There Goes Your Life” create a dreamy landscape that weave their way through most of the record.

Every once in a while, the trio kicks it up a notch — maybe two, but no more — with the trumpeted “Lonely Highs” and alternative “Soul Receivers,” but there’s nothing too distracting from the overall thread and tone.

Here’s the problem: All of these Brit pop-rock groups are starting to sound the same with minor variations. Yeah, we all appreciate what Blur and Radiohead did for music, but do we really need another take on The Bends?

The best U.K. bands — Placebo, Clinic, Ash, Idlewild and so on — are those that keep their distance from Muse, Coldplay or the Keane, not those who say without saying, “Hey! We’re pretentious British music snobs, and we’re better than you stupid American bands.”

True, the mainstream over there is better than the mainstream over here, but consider this: You are here, not there, so all you Brit-pop hippy lapdogs shut the hell up and support America and buy a Creed CD.

Nah, let’s not go that far. It ain’t that bad.

Real Quick


You Are Here

Released by Bluhammock Music

Stater rating (out of five): ***

Contact all reporter Joe Shearer at [email protected].