I’m told that many people will have heard / seen Brighton duo SOUTH CENTRAL play and be familiar with their music. But I sure can’t count myself amongst that group. The fact that they have opened for the likes of Pendulum and The Prodigy across the globe still means nothing to me, I’m afraid.
In general, although I can appreciate a lot of what the latter band does (and even saw them play a gig in Glasgow a couple of years ago) I somewhat stereo-typically associate this type of dance orientated music with pimped up Vauxhall Astras or whatever, racing up and down the High Street, windows open and big ‘oom-cha, oom-cha, oom-cha’ beats emanating from the opened windows.
(And can I just say here and now that the music of Pendulum really gets on my tits!)
But thankfully, this is not about them. It’s about SOUTH CENTRAL, and I’m somewhat pleased to say that this album is not nearly as aurally offensive as I’d expected. See – it’s not pure ‘dance’ music, but a fusion of Rock and Dance, with I sense a little Hip Hop and other influences peeping through at various points.
It’s still a bit too synth based and repetitive for me, the results being that many of the twelve tracks are ‘just there’ in the background, creating no real impression, either good or bad. However, there are a few peaches:
Opening track ‘Nu Control’ is a case in point with regards to the ‘repetition’ aspects. “It’s about the media controlling you,” says one half of the duo, Keith. “In the past they’d batter you with a bat or a sword, now they have other ways. And we’re part of the system too – the record keeps repeating and repeating until you think ‘fucking hell, it’s doing my head in!” This quote could apply to several tracks in fact. But that said, I caught a bit of a hip-hop feel from this one (maybe the band name lead me to ‘expect’ that form of music) and it’s actually ok in a sort of looping Daft Punk sort of way.
‘The Day I Die’ is another that really gets under your skin – though this time more for the anthemic but still catchy chorus. I’m not sure if this has perhaps been released as a single and I subconsciously heard it on the radio, because it’s uncannily familiar. (But therein probably lies my issue with the album – if I have heard it before it obviously washed over me without creating any specific impression.)
Interestingly, Gary Numan guests on the tenth track, ‘Crawl’ while A Place To Bury Strangers’ Oliver Ackerman appears on closing track ‘The Moth.’ And perhaps because these two songs don’t follow the (my) preconceived notions of ‘dance’ music and dare to be different, then I find them the best two on the album.
Thousands will disagree, I know, but for me ‘Society Of The Spectacle’ is one of those albums that I would happily listen to if it came on the radio or at a party, but equally it’s unlikely to make my I-Pod playlist.
Here are a few sample mixes of the track ‘The Day I Die.’
(Released through Egregore Records on 4th April 2011)