The Southern Sea: Nina and the Wrong Note (Independent, 2002)

by Brent

The Southern Sea Nina and the Wrong NoteIndependent cd’s are a hit-miss proposition; you never know exactly what you’re going to get. When a band self-produces their work, there is no objective record executive or producer to judge the music of the band in question. Therefore, you end up with one of two possibilities when you receive an independent cd…either (a) you end up with a poorly produced, poorly written cd that no label would touch, or (b) a collection of songs produced by an ambitious and talented band that is using their cd to launch themselves to greater success.

In this case, with The Southern Sea‘s 4 song ep Nina and the Wrong Note, this reviewer definitely leans towards option (b).

The Southern Sea‘s collection of four sentimental and slightly melancholy songs is aptly described with one word: sweet. The soft, smooth voice of lead singer Brad is sweet, while the lingering guitar and vocal melodies of this band’s music gently tickle the ears. The Southern Sea showcases their talent with the sonic epiphany that occurs as the vocals come in, singing of summer storms and cradled by jangly guitars and soft pseudo-drones on “Magellan”. An elegant moment of music. Another highlight on this ep occurs on the next track, “Farm Road 1975”, as Brad croons about driving down a country road with his girlfriend and pals, on their way to a show. The guitar work and melodies are exquisite, as well as the picturesque, and yes, sweet, lyrics. Of course, it isn’t really fair to pick out highlights on this disc (that can be best described stylistically as a cross between Early Day Miners and “North to the Future” era Joe Christmas), given the fact that all four songs are well written, and build nicely with subtle crescendos. All in all, an excellent example of what an independent cd can be, from an up and coming band. Sweet, indeed.

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