Damien Rice meets Dolly Parton: this is Southern. Take the cryptic lyrics of Damien Rice, the joyful banjo of Dolly, a dash of rock’s chorus of angst, reduce the bra size and you have Thom and Lucy Southern; aptly named country duo from Belfast.

The brother/sister duo insist there is no White Stripes trick afoot and there are in fact a lot of good points to working with a sibling…

“I handle the guitar and she handles the rhythm and we both work on the lyrics because we’re usually on the same …mind-flow”

…and some bad points:

“…but that doesn’t mean we don’t bicker.”

Arguing over a “made up metaphor” is at least not something in need of family therapy, but I think a few discussions on whether or not a lyric makes sense would crop up, since neither listening to them nor reading them off the internet gave me, for one, any clarity. Apparently there’s some teenage angst in there somewhere, not specifically for teenagers.

“I wanted to write something everyone can relate to…”

And the music aspect has gone through several changes before resting on country.

“‘World Don’t Shine’ was the first song I wrote when I was 16 … and it’s changed since that first version … there was a point where there were bongos and maracas”

Country is just the current experiment in the lab. For now the joyful beat and cynical lyrics of Southern’s country sound is inspired by the likes of Beck and Led Zepplin, but after toying with reggae Thom has hinted a more R&B feel to the next album,

“A more Lou Reed feel”

…as well as more of a spotlight on Lucy, which I fully support. Listening to their album I concluded Lucy only supplied a few “doo wah wah”s and a last verse of “Just Think About It” and was relieved to hear her brother say not only does she contribute to the lyrics and rhythm but praising her “beautiful voice” as well. I was seeing another Damien Rice/Lisa Hannigan situation on the horizon wherein Lucy was dumped for Thom’s solo career to flourish and she was found on the side of the road with a sign that said “Doo wah wahs for food”.

And that would be a crime, because that was a beautiful “Just Think About It” verse. But thankfully Lucy’s beautiful voice will featured more on the next album I’m not supposed to know about and can’t get any more detail on. Nor should I know about another tour, the dates of which I don’t know, which infuriates me.

What I can tell you is that Southern’s current album is available on iTunes and to listen out for their names throughout 2014. southern-200x150


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