With the Tides



by Scott Herren USER (42 Reviews)
January 16th, 2005 | 1 replies

Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

South is a fun little band that calls on influences from such greats as Ride, Stone Roses, and the Verve. South is an electronic trio of friends from London. Each member of the band is a multi-instrumentalist, and all three play guitar, bass, drums, and keyboard on the album. South was originally discovered by UNKLE’s James Lavelle who signed them to his label in the late 90s. With the Tides is their second full length release. This album is much sharper than their debut, and uses cascading electric guitars, synthesizers, and shimmering percussion, in addition to the acoustic guitar and string arrangements that defined From Here On In.

The Band:
Jamie McDonald – Vocals, Guitar, Percussion, Bass, Keyboards
Joel Cadbury – Guitar, Percussion, Bass, Keyboards
Brett Shaw – Guitar, Percussion, Bass, Keyboards

Motiveless Crime
This song is one of the stronger songs on the album. A simple drum beat, and some swirling synths surround a beautiful chorus, and very catchy verses. The strings are wonderfully placed. This song is a beautiful little rock song, that has some spacey elements, and the classic South string interlude, some echo effects are used as well. This is a very well done song. 5/5

Colours In Waves
This is the single from the album, and chances are if you have heard a South song, it is probably this one. This is a great choice for a single, as it is one of the best songs on the album. The slightly heavy rhythm guitar riff, and echo on the lead guitar pace the song, and the vocals are amazing. There is a really dreamy interlude after the first chorus with just some vocals and twinkly noises that is the highlight of the song. Then when the effects laden guitars come back in they really drive the song to an amazing climax. This song is just a dream pop classic. 5/5

Loosen Your Hold
The song starts off with just an acoustic guitar riff and some synthesizers, then some Rideish vocals come in. When the drums kick in, the song takes on more of a straightforward approach with “normal” vocals. Until it gets to after the chorus where there is a strange swirling synth noise that is pretty cool, and then it goes back to the dreamy vocals, which I find more enjoyable. This is another good song, maybe not as good as the prior two because it is a bit repetitive near the end, and I feel that they could have expanded on this idea. 3.5/5

Natural Disasters
This is the first real dark song on the album. Very soft vocals to start out the song, then some heavily reverbed guitar comes in. Another gorgeous melody in this song. The vocals are again really good. The acoustic guitar on the verse is really the highlight of this song, although the synths are still present. I also really like the chorus to this song. There is no real hook, but the whole chorus really serves as a hook. This is another one of the stronger songs on the album. 4.5/5

Fragile Day
This is a slow starting song. The vocals in the beginning seem heavily effects laden, the string arrangements really drive the song in the beginning until about 1:30 in when the song changes pace for a second. The song really builds up nicely as you might expect. This is one of the more “chill” songs on the album, probably the dreamiest song to this point. It really picks up intensity near the end, but then goes back to a dream state for the last 30 seconds or so. I like this song also. 4/5

Nine Lives
Nine Lives starts with a soft twinkling guitar riff and simple vocals. This is just a nice clean simple song. They don’t throw a lot of effects in here as they do on previous songs. They really let the songwriting, and the beauty of the vocals drive the song, and it works to perfection. There are just a couple sections with some string synths, but they are very well used. This is probably the most radio friendly song on the album, and it is my favorite on the album. 5/5

Same Old Story
This song gets the album into a heavier more aggressive mood again. There is a pretty good electric guitar riff for part, but in part of the song, the song just gets a bit repetitive, and the instrumentation isn’t all that great. It is an ok song, but there really isn’t much to say about it. It isn’t one of the stronger songs on the album. 2.5/5

Mend These Trends
This song can pretty much be described with one word. Solid. It doesn’t blow me away like a few of the songs on the first half of the album did. The song is basically simple instrumentation, and vocals that are simply “ok”. This is not to say that it is bad, but it is bad by South’s standards. 2.5/5

Silver Sun
Silver Sun starts off with a catchy guitar riff, and prodding keyboards. The intro vocals are sung almost like a choir, and it actually works pretty well. This song really seems to follow a pretty generic rock song script, and it does it with only moderate success. I really can’t seem to get into this song, like the prior two, and this is really the weakest part of the album for me. 3/5

Straight Lines To Bad Lands
Finally we are back to a bit of experimental instrumentation, and we get a nice little mix of acoustic guitar and very catchy synth. For the first time in several songs, the vocals are actually very catchy and beautiful. This is also one of the more dreamy songs on the album. The instrumentation, is what drives it with twinkly noises and droning bass. It is another one of the strong tracks. 4/5

What I Find
This is a nice soft little song driven by acoustic guitar and folky vocals. This is another straightforward rock song, using very little synth as they just let the guitar and vocals pace the song. It is a bit of a sad song, and the lyrics and guitar solos are really the highlights. This is another one of the better songs on the album. 4.5/5

This song is by far the most aggressive on the album. The vocals are so heavy with effects, they are barely discernable, and the guitar really takes center stage about midway through the song. The song uses a variety of electric guitar effects throughout with varying success. The last two minutes of the song is basically an instrumental with some humming in the background. It is actually a very strong and fitting climax to the album though. 3.5/5

So, in conclusion, this is a pretty good album, especially if you are fans of britpop or shoegazer. It is not the best in it’s genre, but is a good album, that has it’s moments.

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