Something Rotten in Denmark: South Haven’s Motion
There are some albums you only have to hear once to know your life will never be the same. South Haven‘s Motion is one of these, insofar as my life is now significantly worse.
I was tempted to end the review there, but that intro deserves a fuller explanation. It’s hard to know where exactly to start with South Haven. According to the promo I received, the band is almost entirely from Denmark. As no list of band members was provided, there’s no way to know for sure. The band could be entirely erstwhile Nameless Ghouls and I wouldn’t know, other than presumably the music would sound better.
Let’s dive in, shall we? The album features two singles, “Dancing in Nightmares” and “Sweet Suffering.” Neither are good. I can’t for the life of me imagine the process that led to selecting these two singles, because every song on the album is exactly as generic and uninteresting.
As the band’s PR folks make clear, the real attraction is that South Haven features not one but two (count ’em!) female vocalists. The first, Christine, is from “Luxembourg/Denmark” (which is it?). The second, Angel, is from Nigeria. I’ll skip right past their promo’s description of the band’s only black member as “soulful,” because this is by far the most innocuous racial issue in the metal scene in 2020.
Worried that the two lady singers can’t walk and chew gum at the same time? So are the band’s management, apparently. Not to worry, they’re “backed up by experienced musicians.” “These women we plucked off the street don’t know their asses from a hole in the ground, but don’t worry, we got some experienced Danes on the case.” One such Dane is bassist Stefan Elbæk, whose credits include… nothing. I couldn’t find a single other credit for this goober. Who are the other musicians? No idea! They aren’t listed.
But hey, let’s not jump to conclusions. Maybe these Danish wunderkinden have been practicing their fingers to the bone on some next level shit.
Oh fuck, is that a root-octave dyad over a 4/4 drum pattern? Surely nobody’s ever tried that before. A series of root-fifth power chords? Slow down, fellas! Good thing we got experienced musicians to do this—can you imagine if inexperienced musicians had been involved?
It’s not a good sign that the band’s music is far less interesting than where it came from. Evidently South Haven is the creation of Prime Collective, a group that handles PR/management/booking/distributing for a series of Danish bands and is also, if memory serves, a recurring Pynchon antagonist.
This shadowy, Dansk cabal claims that South Haven is the product of their “successful #NEXTGEN project,” a project so successful that I’ve not only never heard of it, but could find no evidence of its existence online. This top-secret program evidently allowed South Haven to perfect their songwriting for three fucking years before the release of any material. This rock and roll Manhattan Project took over 1,000 days to churn out the musical equivalent of a 2002 Pontiac Aztek.
This is not to say that there’s nothing good about Motion. For one thing, the album ends. For another, the band stole the chorus to TLC’s “No Scrubs” and inserted it haphazardly into the end “Crush,” like RHCP throwing the main riff of “Sweet Leaf” into the end of “Give it Away,” except worse in every conceivable way.
Look on South Haven’s works, ye mighty, and despair.
If for some reason you want to listen to this record, it comes out on April 17 through Prime Collective.