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Record Review


Barely into their 20s, the members of British trio South appear to be doing their best to inch ever higher the bar by which Brit-pop is measured. Not content to rest on the stodgy laurels of their brethren, South frequently overachieves with From Here On In, their debut album, by infusing simple, acoustic songs with booming drum 'n' bass climaxes and soaring strings, then garnishing it all with measured doses of percussive electronica.

A long, ambitious effort -- with vocals cloaked ever so slightly by the unsure rasp of youth, and hypnotic beats that mutate and resurface -- From Here On In manages to slip into mellow grooves, wake itself into acoustic ballads and shatter its calm veneer with pounding drum beats. By starting, finishing and slicing the album in half with versions of "Broken Head" -- and reprising two other tracks (including the standout "All in for Nothing") -- this album becomes more than simply a collection of potential singles. "Paint The Silence" quickly displays the band's split personalities, "Southern Climbs" is the soundtrack to a Sunday afternoon nap and the anthemic "Sight Of Me" builds to a satisfying crescendo of lightweight anger.

By planting the droning sounds of technology side by side with time-tested, honey-dripped acoustica for nearly 70 minutes, South seems to have expanded upon the standard Brit-pop sound without obscuring its obvious grounding in it.

South plays the Cotton Club Wed., March 13.

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