Article | South

The new phenomenon - (South - ‘From Here On’ - MoWax)

South are one of those bands teetering on the edge of being referred to as that natural phenomenon of ‘Press Darlings’. Having attracted a fair weight of press already from the likes of The Face, Sleaze Nation, Level, The Record Collector (on the back of their label; MoWax), The NME, The NME and oh, The NME, among many, many others, South look set to take that rocket skywards, as did the likes of Suede, Manic Street Preachers and Radiohead before them. But why should South deserve your ‘time’ and hard earned cash in preference to any other of the nu-wave of rock influenced groups that are now ‘nest building’ in the top of our charts?

Well much to do with the answer to this question has to be the man who championed the group in signing them to his label MoWax. James Lavelle at 18 borrowed the princely sum of 1000 from his then employer and like mind ‘Honest John’ to set up the label that would later spawn the likes of DJ Shadow, Money Mark and his own group Unkle, to name a few (and trust me this is not giving the label the credit they deserve, but you know that I’m sure).

So what is it I have here in palms so clammy at the anticipation of holding a pre-release of an album I am certain will be right up my street and talked of so favourably before playing their recent single by radio1 DJ and former NME man, Steve Lamacq on his evening session. Well without further ado I shall spill the beans and tell you that this is ‘From Here On’, the debut from the 3 who funnily enough met when they were 14 years old at Haverstock Secondary School, and stayed together, they are in their early twenties now.

Signed to MoWax in 1998 when James Lavelle heard their demo, played to him by the groups manager and was instantly enamoured, it is told. They were the first signing following the labels joining the Beggars Banquet Group and have worked with Lavelle on various mixes, including those for Mr Ian Brown (that would explain it). What do I mean by this last comment? Well the sound is a melding of that of the MoWax tempo and late eighties/early nineties indie (a-la Stone Roses especially) and just that the group have worked with James on various projects and not just as a signing, so the two years plus that this has taken to hit our ears seems all the more worth while.

I say ‘projects’ and while I have mentioned remixes, I have not as yet the collaboration with Lavelle on what is described as the "mind-blowing" soundtrack for the film ‘Sexy Beasts’ - the debut film from video director Jonathan Glazer, starring Ben Kingsley and Ray Winstone, a film that will hit our screens later this year, after premiering in Canne in May. So there you have it, who South are, where South came from and what to expect, but what about this album? Well it’s strange when I say that as I complete this piece, I have travelled the journey and ‘lived’ with this album for some weeks and when I first played it, it did hit me like a storm only to blow itself out somewhat. But now as my journey continues (and that is what it will), I see that this melding of indie, hip-hop, slicing guitar and instrumental a-la MoWax is exactly what James Lavelle saw when he first encountered the bands demo, in short, a real grower! Certain to be amongst the short list when the year closes and just what the Doctor ordered for an ageing ‘indie-kid’ like myself.

6/5 Nick James


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