As I sit in bed feeling sorry for myself as I’m ill, I thought I’d write about a song that I’ve pretty much had on repeat for a year, nearly. It is also to make up for the fact I’ve lost my dictaphone with my 2:54 interview on. If I can’t find it within a week, I’ll just be massively disappointed in myself. Useless. In my defense, I have moved house so it could be anywhere.
South by 2:54 is my favourite song by them. I thought I always had a firm favourite (Got A Hold) but it turns out, I was wrong. I guess lyrically I’d probably call Blindfold because the lyrics are easy to relate to. But for me, South is a song that feels like a hug from the person you adore the most. It feels like you’re being wrapped around something reassuring and comforting. The lyrics are quite sad, and I think last year I probably said the line “Got nowhere to put misshapen love” was the best I’d heard. You can take your over the top and complex prose, but I’d rather settle for a lyric like that. The simplicity of it can break your heart or make you feel like you’ve been finally healed. I love the uncertainty in the line, “Am I doing it wrong? Am I doing it right?” It’s such a simple line but the way in which it is sung that just gets you right in the heart.
I’ve tried to fathom what I love the most about the song. Is it Colette’s voice? Is it Hannah’s guitar or the way Alex makes the drums feel like a soothing wave hitting you? Is it the lyrics? It’s all and more, I can’t pick just one reason. The intro feels like rain hitting a window, but the drums come in and it feels like waves crashing around you. Something I’ve always adored about 2:54 is, you know the cover to their first record? Well, what I love that from their music I always feel like I am in that place. I feel like I am stood watching waves hit the rocks in the freezing cold with nothing surrounding me. Lost and found at the same time.
I’ve always felt 2:54 a band to listen to with nobody else around and at night. Turns out I was wrong because I can listen to them anytime, anywhere. But the ideal setting for them is late at night when all is dark and still. They create something eerie in your mind, and I think it is partly to do with Colette’s voice. I honestly think 2:54 are terribly underrated, but that’s a different matter entirely. Colette has this power in her voice that is found in the likes of Patti and Shirley Manson. She can make her voice sound gentle (Tender Shoots) or she can add something quite ferocious to it (Sugar.) I don’t know of anyone else who can do that. I don’t think they realise how great they are.
South is the perfect song to have on repeat as you go for a long walk. Just wandering around trying to clear your head or to just be alone for a while.Maybe I carry for too many feelings, but I think South is so special to me because it feels like an outlet. I don’t know what their meaning behind the song is or what place they were in when they wrote it, but I know where it takes me and how it makes me feel. You can listen to this on a crisp autumn evening as the sun sinks down or on a misty morning when you feel as if you’re the only person left; it can be purely self-indulgent or a journey of discovery. I’d always aim for the latter but, whatever gets you through.
At times I have felt that 2:54’s music is a reflection/stepping outside of the self to look in. Maybe I’m going too deep with this, but songs like South hit you in the gut and stir everything inside. In some parts of the song, Colette’s voice sounds quite woeful and I think this stands out towards the end where it is just her voice, then the guitar comes back in. I guess that’s probably why I feel a lot towards this song.
In their live shows this is definitely a highlight for me. I love songs that last over 5 minutes, and South slowly creeps in. There are other glorious moments in their live sets, but as I’ve only seen them tour The Other I (I was living on the Isle of Man during the start of their career so I was a distant fan, I suppose) I can only use this as reference. That said, the jam at the end of Creeping is mind-blowing. They are a band that I would urge anyone to go see. I don’t think they realise how great they are, and I don’t think Hannah is fully aware of how brilliant a guitarist she is. She towers over most, she makes it look effortless but you know a lot is going on. South is a song that shows us what 2:54 are about. The lyrics are dark and brooding at times, the music is complex and takes you someplace and the vocals ease you. They ease you into the unknown, and that’s what I love about 2:54. They take you gently into the unknown and everything around you just falls away.
I don’t know what anyone else thinks about South but for me it just evokes a sense of freedom. When love is misshapen, what do you do? The sensible answer is to probably walk away from it. There’s a handful of songs I play when things just seem a bit too much for my head to take in, and South is one of those that ease this uncertainty. South like I’ve mentioned feels like you’ve found a source of comfort and maybe it is all down to the vocals, maybe. But go deeper into it and every element of the song is a wealth of reassurance. It is one of the rare moments where the drums don’t make you feel as if you’re being smacked in the face. The drums on South make you feel as if you’re gliding in the sky like a bird, heading South.
I’ve a million and one other things I could say about the song, and maybe I’ll re-read this and disagree with what I’ve written, but it’s a song I’m hugely in love with and grateful for.