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EP REVIEW: South Border - "4 Song EP"
By Gian F - 02/24/2006 - 01:08 AM EST

Artist: Band: South Border
CD Review: Genre: R&B
Sounds Like: ?
Technical Grade: 9
Production/Musicianship Grade: 9
Commercial Value: 8
Overall Talent Level: 9
Songwriting Skills: 8
Performance Skill: 8
Best Songs: Rainbow, Sweet, The Show
Weakness: ?
CD Review: From Asia via Los Angeles, comes South Border, a vocal group/band that has previously released 5 CDs under Sony BMG in the Phillippines, where they hold the record for the most downloaded song (thus far) for their single, "Rainbow." They wanted my opinion on a sampling of songs from their 6th and forthcoming CD to be released on their own record label, Brownman Music.

Well, as the saying goes, "Where there's smoke, there's fire!" This package was smoking the minute I put it in my stereo. Hopefully I can fan the flame for the rest of my industry peers to see them. We have all been bracing for the "Asian invasion" for quite some time and South Border is just the group to bring it in (If Jose "Sway" Penala from American Idol doesn't do it first).

The fine musicianship of Jay Durias (the musical director/keyboards); Ducan Ramos and Vince Alares (vocals); Paul Benitez (drums); Butch Vicotoriano (lead guitar); Tatal Balane (bass); and Ric Junasa (saxophone) is enough to make it happen with their organic, well-produced, well-performed, and yes, well-timed release.

Contrary to what they may think (or have heard) the industry does NOT care that they are Asian; they only care about your ability to deliver as a competitive and commercially viable artist. Music lovers only care about quality music that they can connect with. South Border is abundantly qualified to satisfy both with their flirtatious Hip-Hop flavored opening track, "Sweet," which has the potential to be one of the first feel-good tracks of the Summer (2006). It's a song that recalls memories of the monster radio hit, "Too Close" by defunct R&B group Next.

Their identity comes through on "The Show" along with their personality and flare for dramatics, which is refreshing, engaging and a welcome departure from the monotony of most R&B projects that I get. After the cavalier posturing in their previous tracks, it's the tender emotional appeal of "Rainbow" that lingers on this EP. It's a beautiful ballad with subtle orchestration, and an uplifting message that we all need to be aware of when experiencing heartache: there's a rainbow always after the rain. No wonder it sold so many downloads

Advice: Get your show together and finish up the CD. Be open to the idea of a remix to increase your chances of infiltrating radio. You are ready for prime time.

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