South

From Here On In

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    6
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AllMusic Review by

If From Here on In tells a listener just one thing about South, it's that the band have a broad collection of Madchester albums. Sounding at times like the Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, or the Cure, From Here on In often meanders around, getting by on its influences, rather than seeking the necessary hooks and melodies. It's hard to say if it's James Lavelle's fault or not, but the MoWax and Unkle honcho clearly played a huge role on the album, as both a producer and a soundsmith. Keyboards and synthetic strings creep into many a tune; one wonders where Lavelle's contributions start and end. More than a few songs fall apart under such a heavy, dreary mood, because half the time South seem to want to be a folk-rock band and create what appear to be B-sides to songs from Badly Drawn Boy's The Hour of Bewilderbeast. The band and the producer seem to have different goals. It doesn't help that there are a number of reprises and that the grating Broken Head instrumental shows up three times. The album's standout track is "Paint the Silence"; it sounds as if it's been excavated from The Stone Roses, and it contains an excellent Ian Brown impersonation. "Here on In," "Run on Time," and "All in for Nothing" suggest the band would do better as a straightforward rock band, without the gloomy electronica trappings. South nearly create a special debut, but with 16 similar-sounding songs, the band would have done well to edit themselves into a more palatable, varied beast. More hooks and less electronic moodiness would have helped.

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