Do you like bold and inventive music? Are you always searching for bands that stand out from the typical radio-friendly groups? Then I’d suggest avoiding Southcott, whose debut album, “Flee the Scene,” lacks originality and ambition.

Hailing from Rockland County, NY, Southcott supplies a solid 26 minutes of generic, albeit well-played, rock music on “Flee the Scene.” I would think, as they live so close to the thriving art and music scenes in New York City, that these guys would be able to come up with something a little more creative and think beyond the scope of commercial radio.

But perhaps their proximity to the commercial “alternative” scene that can be found on MTV – when they decide to play music – which offers relative success to anyone with a guitar and a problem, made the appeal of jumping on the bandwagon irresistible.

If there is some book on how to be a rock band, Southcott followed it down to the very last detail. The album sports generic guitar riffs that never seem to go out of style, and the lyrics are predictable and formulaic.

The third track, generically entitled “Red Lights and Rooftops,” is a standard emo story told by every emo band. You see, there’s this girl – who for some reason is always associated with a knife, scissors or some other sharp, pointy object – and a conflicted guy who wants to avoid said destructive female but can’t seem to keep himself away. In the end he is plagued by drama with this girl and his life is just miserable.

Despite that everyone has heard this story before in one form or another, every new band feels compelled to tell their version, and too few of them manage to tell it in an interesting way.

The song, “Life Boats for High Hopes,” ends with a statement to a nameless girl that “your tongue can be so clich.” However, this line seems quite applicable to Southcott, whose lyrics are obnoxiously clich. I can’t help but feel I’ve heard all of these songs before but someone else was playing them.

The bottom line is that Southcott’s debut is unambitious but would appeal to younger teens who aren’t searching for cutting-edge music and are content with mainstream radio rock.

The media section of their official web site, http://www.southcottrocks.com, supplies such “angsty” teenage fans with icons for their livejournals – indicating that their target audience seems to be teens whose emotional roller coaster-like lives can best be described by the lyrics of Southcott.

If you don’t care for music that is progressive and original like the Mars Volta, but you’d like to move away from Hilary Duff and company, Southcott is the perfect place to start. Perhaps as your musical tastes evolve, Southcott will come into their own and put out a sophomore album that is unique, or at least more mature.

Swain can be reached at eswain@campustimes.org.



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