South Street

An introduction to

Ten years ago guitar music in Britain was unheard of and the five members of this Newcastle sprung band were playing football in their now namesake area of South Street. Thanks to bands like Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party that reinvigorated it, the now booming Brit-indie scene excited Michael Brunskill and co into forming a band that would within months of their configuration find them playing a well rounded and enthusiastic set of songs that challenges the likes of Kaiser Chiefs and Motorettes in brisk enjoyability and free spirit.

Like a lot of bands, South Street have adapted ‘a sound’ into something clean, cut-down and effortless and with their collection of blistering two and a half minute romps through low-key and mind blowing simplicities have emerged with an undressed sense of simplicity that’s so fresh to the music scene it’s already blowing the minds of anybody it comes in contact with. So many bands these days find solace in the ‘depth’ of music and end up releasing track after track of self righteous drivel that only the bands themselves can find meaning in. Luckily, South Street have no such qualms and actually play music that you (and they) love to hear. Whether it’s the almost American punk-rock bass lines of Don’t Feel Ashamed that races and thrashes its way through to some aggressive and Cribs like verses and Clash spitting chorus lines, or the powerhouse of To Your left I’m Right which is almost the Buzzcocks and Stranglers collaboration that never happened, they’re a band that make good energized tunes.

With so much competition these days to be ‘the next Libertines’ and with most bands trying to sound like a collection of Libs influenced bystanders, with only a handful actually managing to do something original (Larrikin, wink wink), the Newcastle quintet have taken a different route. A purer and better sounding one that leaves tracks like The Company You Keep, yet another modern-punk echelon of brilliance, in the wake of their own evolution. Already, South Street have managed to create as close to a modern punk classic as possible in Call in the Debts. The songs running and defeating verses swoop by with an eagerness and massive bang that turns its subtle yet walloping lyrics into a footnote next to its incessant and ceaselessly blinding guitar thrashing. This song is all that The Cribs wish they could do and all that the great UK punk bands have done before them. It may not be original in the way you could say Arcade Fire are, or playful in the way that The Motorettes somehow manage to sustain themselves, but with the exhilaration you’d expect from these aforementioned bands, crossed with an earthy and ballsy punk-rock gear, South Street have put themselves next to the pigeon holes of music conformity. Possibly the most exciting thing about them is you really don’t know where it’s going, which road they’re going to take, and with that leaves a sense of euphoric wonderment and excitement as they continue to grow into God knows what.

People always ask what bands to look out for and all I can say at this point is keep a close eye on these boys as they’re honestly one of the best things to happen to rock ‘n’ roll since The Subways circa 2004.

Alex Lee Thomson

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