People always predict that guitar bands will return to the front of the music scene; by the end of the year, or the year after, or when The Wombats released their first album (no they were not a guitar band). What they don’t understand is that it does not come with just one band. It comes as an accumulation of lots of bands making and promoting it. Like Southern, for example.
Southern are brother and sister Thom and Lucy Southern. Belfast-born and currently based in Liverpool, the pair released their debut EP entitled ‘Southern’ on Monday, December 9th via Marathon Artists.
Digging their inspirations from crunching blues riffs and distinctive elements of folk music, Southern have been spotted by luxurious brand Burberry, but it didn’t stain their reputation, and their debut EP is definitely not pretentious.
Opening with the cracking Shout It, the band hardly sounds British. The blues tone sounds perfect, as if they’d been living in the South of the US for their whole lives. You can feel a proper connection between the two - the harmonies fit as if they could read each other’s mind and provide a spontaneous third for each other’s sentences.
World Don’t Shine has a more folk vibe, alongside a feeling of dancing around a campfire while drinking whiskey. During the middle of the track there is a moment when the beat sits back, the vocals stop and the suspense grows. In this moment there is a sort of The Who’s “Who Are You?” jump-start that will make you smile as it’s amazingly executed. I’d love to hear it live. The chorus in Just Think About It resembles a White Stripes track, added to by some stunning guitar riffs, which almost feel Seasick Steve-like. The final track, Cool Kid shows the indie side of Southern. It’s more relaxed, but the lyrics are the face behind the mask, “ ‘cause you’re the splinter in my brain, gonna take you out some day…”. Creepy!
You could compare the debuts of Southern to the debuts of Manchester-based duo Bird To Beast for their folkloric and very alternative sound - or you could liken them to Band Of Skulls for both coming from the wet side of the globe and yet sounding like a pure American act. These guys (who are currently recruiting extra musicians to feature on some of the tracks) are determined and ferocious; yet look like a young brother and sister who followed their parents’ advice to make music together. Do not get fooled, this is a debut of real weight, and I have no doubt that this year will be a real trip.