Tuesday, 4 June 2013

The Southern Set - The Southern Set

EP review by kev@thesoundofconfusion.co.uk


Crikey. This debut EP sounds as though it was made by a bunch of lunatics, albeit very talented lunatics. It's not your typical finding-your-feet debut fare, it's bonkers, varied, accomplished and full of imagination. The Southern Set formed in Sydney last summer and this self-titled release is their first gift to the world, we hope it's the first of many. You really don't know what to make of opening track 'The Merchant of Matters', an incredibly oddball piece of quirky psychedelia that's something akin to Willy Wonka if he'd been played by Syd Barrett. It has the hallmarks of the British psych eccentrics to it. As opening gambits go, it's a bit misleading. Following it is 'The Life', a slightly more conventional psych-pop track that's constructed very carefully from different layers of sound and vocal techniques, although the end result sounds like it was just thrashed through in a haze of acid, but don't be fooled; this is complex and highly competent stuff that sets off on a voyage to heaven knows where.

The fun doesn't stop there, and nor does the ever-changing sound. 'iLook Like' launches itself into the sky with a great riff before some vocals mutter lyrics in the manner of a man who you wouldn't want looking after your kids. Again it's deceivingly complex but more up to date, that's to say it's more '90s weirdness than '60s weirdness. Lyrical proficiency is rife throughout this EP but often gets lost in the melee. 'Ikey Mo' corrects that by pushing the vocals to the fore and backing it with more primitive guitars and textured sounds. It almost appears if The Southern Set are going to end with something approaching normality, and they kind of do. It does approach normality but it doesn't quite get there. 'Empire' is a sea of voices and a variety of sound effects that sounds like a music box playing through about half a dozen dreams that are happening all at once. We like The Southern Set, they're fun.



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