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    Journey South

    Journey South 2 ( 2006 )
    The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face / Let It Be / Desperado / The Circle / Nobody Knows / I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For / All Of You / Time After Time / It Must Have Been Love / All That I Am / English Rose

    There's a guy in this years American Idol who rearranges the likes of 'I Walk The Line' by Johnny Cash into genuinely different rock mode. Here in the UK we had Journey South, two brothers both who sing and one of whom plays acoustic guitar. On the show, they sang the likes of U2 and The Beatles, 'Let It Be'. The songs ended up sounding a little different just because of the way Journey South operate, rather than because of any arranging skill. Listening to a full-length LP from the boys is a less than pleasant experience because of the limitations within their format. Every single song begins with strummed acoustic, one brother sings, then the other. Then, they'll harmonise for a little bit, a string section will invariably enter the equation, repeat to close. I don't actually blame Journey South for the utter wretchedness of this album, I blame Simon Cowell, but let's look at the situation for a moment. Journey South have taken far too much advice from people who purport to know best. Some of the song choices leave a lot to be desired. Base obviousness is the order of the day, tried and tested and dog-tired songs are featured offering few surprises. On the one hand, Simon will berate artists on X-Factor/American Idol for doing 'karaoke' performances, and then when it comes to putting an album together, he'll select 'songs people know'.

    There are a couple of Journey South originals on here, both are completely forgettable. This may be the reason Simon Cowell wanted a collection of covers but that doesn't entirely wash with me. What's the problem with using outside writers to create original songs? Chico with 'Chico Time' had an original tune put together for him in 30 minutes flat. Ok, so it's hideously irritating, but that's partly besides the point. Much more could have been done with this debut Journey South album if only their management and producers had a little more imagination. Individual songs, then? By far and away my favourite track here is the boys cover (!) of Ocean Colour Scene's 'The Circle', stripped of OCS's usual bombast it's all rather nice to listen to. There isn't a single other moment here that isn't disposable, it's all rather too polite and dull for my liking. Sadly I suspect, for Journey South, by the time they grow artistically, the media attention and publicity post x-factor will have died down and no one will care when/if they do make an album that's actually interesting and slightly good. I've wasted all this time writing about this album. I could have just written 'this is the Switzerland of rock albums' and left it at that.

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    Michael Dallaway thedall@gmail.com
    Actually Journey South's 'Circle' cover is based upon the stripped-down performance of the song that can be found on the OCS B side collection, as well as on numerous 'live acoustic' performances. In this form it is known as 'Outside of a Circle'. JS completely overcook the song, and massacre every song on the album- its just that with 'The Circle' it hurts me deeper, y'know?

    this page last updated 14/10/08

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