Band hoping to leave beautiful past far behind
THEY were once Beautiful but now The South are striking out in a new direction in a bid to escape the past.
The band, which features two former members of Hull's most successful musical exports – The Beautiful South, will release a new album called Sweet Refrains on Monday.
Singer Alison Wheeler says she hopes the collection of 12 new songs will finally allow the group to emerge from the shadow of The Beautiful South and its dynamic song-writing duo of Paul Heaton and Dave Rotheray.
She said the new album should appeal to fans of the old band and shared "the same wit and mordant humour, plus that irresistible pop swing".
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She said: "It's going to be a an exciting few months. We're really pleased with the new album and think it's full of songs that will appeal to our old fans.
"It's been a process of finding our own feet, allowing the music to evolve and stretching our wings without Paul and Dave being there, writing the songs.
"But, at the same time, we want to stay in the same vein and do justice to the legacy of The Beautiful South. It would be ridiculous to go off and do a drum and bass album that alienates everybody.
"What we hope now is that as many people as possible get the chance to listen to the new songs and it's a success.
"It's the start of a new chapter for us as a group and the plan is to do another album as soon as we can.
"Eventually, we hope to be judged as a band on our own songs and our own merits – and that eventually we're not just that band that used to be The Beautiful South."
Sweet Refrains has been produced by Teo Miller, who has worked with Blur, Happy Mondays and Placebo, giving the record what The South say is an "inherently quirky British sound".
Describing themselves as "the rump" of The Beautiful South, the new band emerged as The New Beautiful South in 2009 saying they "were not ready to leave the party".
Joining Alison in the new group is Hull-born Dave Hemingway, a veteran of both the Beautiful South and The Housemartins, who had hits with Happy Hour and Caravan Of Love in 1986.
Alison says she has not spoken to either Heaton or Rotheray in the run-up to the release.
Rotheray, who has released several solo albums since The Beautiful South split in 2007, had previously said the band carrying on felt like "identity theft".
Sweet Refrains is released on Monday. A single, Stick It In And Turn It, was released last week.
For more details, visit www.the south.co.uk