Friends and worldwide fans of former The Sound leader Adrian Borland are still mourning his death by suicide on April 26 1999. At the time of his sudden, unforeseen demise , the two-decade singer/songwriter was finishing a new solo album, called Harmony And Destruction with longtime producer Wally Brill, and was about to head out on a rare tour supporting a new WHITE ROSE TRANSMISSION album he was involved with, making his loss seem all the more senseless. Thus ended a fascinating career that produced 14 ambitious studio albums, plus 10 other LPs (and an EP) of other artifacts, such as live documents, a best-of, a singles LP, and even several side projects.
Although it is primarily for the 1979-1987 group THE SOUND that Adrian Borland is remembered, his earliest band, THE OUTSIDERS, became the first band in English punk history to self-release an album (the Buzzcocks were the first to self-release a 7”, their seminal “Spiral Scratch” EP), 1977’s Calling on Youth (with money borrowed from Adrian’s father) on his Raw Edge label, thus ushering in the now commonplace “do it yourself” explosion.
THE OUTSIDERS morphed into THE SOUND, who released several records between 1979 and 1987 that deserved the popularity of Echo & the Bunnymen but failed mostly due to the lack of a marketable image. Like Magazine's Howard Devoto, Borland's lyrics were probably too emotionally naked and literate for the masses, and the group might have been a shade too dark for chart appeal. Nonetheless, the Sound were the missing link between Joy Division and Echo; perhaps time will help acknowledge this.
Like so many involved in those halcyon days, Adrian Borland quickly moved away from the initially liberating hard-fast dictates of the punk movement he helped found, and soon became known as a distinctive, unique and powerful songwriter of moody, well-crafted, atmospheric pop. As one of the most intense, artistically accomplished, and unheralded talents of the punk school, singer/songwriter and guitarist Adrian Borland left behind a dense stockpile of excellent records under several guises.