Southern Front - ST, Failsafe Records 1984
A great lucky find this week, the self titled and only album by the 1980's Christchurch band Southern Front.
Released on Failsafe Records in 1984. I had a copy back then but it went when I sold my LP's back in the late 90's. I always had fond memories of this record and had been on the lookout for a CD copy for many years. A reissue was never forthcoming until 2013, but I didn't know and so kept looking for the original vinyl, without much success, even though I didn't have a turntable at the time. So strangely enough now that I do have a turntable again, I'm just having a quick look through the bins at my local second hand vinyl emporium, when I should have been somewhere else doing something more constructive, like working, and low and behold there right at the back of a bin where it shouldn't have been was the long lost LP in person.
The sales person was full of tidbits regarding the LP as he had known some of the band members back in the day and had helped them insert the records into their covers before distribution to the local record shops, he said some times they wrote little cryptic comments on the inside cover, although mine just has a name, probably of a former owner.
The band had formed from the ashes of a couple of local punk bands and had moved their sound in a more post punk direction as so many did after exhausting the limitations of punk. Listening to this album nearly 20 years after the last I heard it, I find it has aged very well and sounds just as good as I remember. Blasting it again tonight I am impressed how well recorded and mastered it is, good separation and clear sounding.
The music is mostly up tempo, the Failsafe website mentions Killing Joke as a reference, although I would apply that more to another seminal Christchurch Band, The Gordons, but there is definitely some early U2 sounding Guitar effects and a good but of early Cure would be another clue. I guess on the surface this sounds just like a thousand other post punk bands of the time and any of these songs would feel right at home on any compilation of obscure local music of the time, but familiarity breeds respect and admiration for the strength of this music, well for me anyway. Rating 4.5/5.
Here is what has been massaging (and sometimes pummeling) my ears this week.
In no particular order, but kinda in the order I listened to them.