Not Made In China – Southernisms

Things like Cancel the Mortgage and Sick of Slx are waspish at times – the exasperated laments of Middle England somehow uprooted from the daytime TV / 5live phone in inanities and given a groovy edge.

http://www.sotones.co.uk

I find I've written a review despite myself. As this is a record packed with great, witty pop music and well worth your time; even though yes, you’ve heard similar this past 30 years. The cover reminds this old get of buying the Beloved’s (awful) Happy Now single from somewhere back in 1986-7, one of those teenage mistakes that later serve as useful mental props and guides for later purchase – don’t trust sub Smiths style covers with 1950s imagery! – was one lesson bitterly learnt.

Luckily the cover didn’t stop me giving this record a spin. It’s damned obvious stuff, and very simple in what it sets out to achieve (that being the making of a perfect and witty and very moral pop record) but it’s got a steel about it. Things like Cancel the Mortgage and Sick of Slx are waspish at times – the exasperated laments of Middle England somehow uprooted from the daytime TV / 5live phone in inanities and given a groovy edge.  

The social commentary is a constant on this LP; on and on goes the list of grievances, and put downs. In terms of attitude Southernisms reminds me of Jean Brodie sallying forth with a whole range of opinions and observations, and (of course) having the wit to pull some of them off.  Jean Brodie without that Mussolini love mind… I’d better point that out now.  Bryan (what a title, I mean, BRYAN, what year are we in, 1958? I bet he has a ducks arse hairdo and a button up cardy), is a pithy and pointed anti marriage rant that is lifted away from the slough of despond by some mellifluous guitar lines. Which brings me to another staple prop on the record: the band obviously like people like Viktor Uwaifo or Celestine Ukwu, or Bhundu Boys as much as they do the Housemartins or Terry Hall, as the guitars are a sparkling mix of High Life and Zimbabwean pop. There are some great melodies here too; 5/4 is a breathy, drowsy spiral and Peel Back the Red Tape is a bubbly Specials-lite review that can’t help to charm despite the pointed social commentary. Perfect and Easter Weekend are classic songs, mixing some satin like harmonics with a fizzing rhythm and pin sharp lyrics.

Lots of fun here, playmates. Give it a spin. I’m off to read The Whitsun Weddings.