Usually rock and electronica form only an uneasy alliance. South succeeds because while it has a foot in both camps, the arrangements feel organic; it's not like some shotgun wedding. It isn't a matter of bringing the two styles into equal balance so much as creating an environment where they co-exist and complement each other.
On their second album, With the Tides, the British threesome moved away from the murky electronic atmospheres of their debut, From Here on In, going less Stone Roses and more the Delgados or Flaming Lips. The bandmates concentrated more on elegantly lavish hooks and melodies, and delivered them with greater concision -- an approach they replicate with even finer results on their latest, Adventures in the Underground Journey to the Stars. They're abetted by a bevy of synthetic strings and swooshing sonics, which they incorporate without sacrificing the pop-rock thread. Even closer to the lush approach of the Lips than the last album, this latest still feels undeniably British without settling into the sad-bastard mope of such acts as Starsailor or Coldplay. The richly textured songs never feel precious or isolated behind a glass, approximating the resplendent grace of fellow Brits the Doves.