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The Sound - All Fall Down review (Sounds 30-10-1982)

date: Oct 30, 1982


THE SOUND - All Fall Down *** 
(WEA 240019) 

This is the album the Sound should never have made, didn't need to make, could have made in their sleep - and in a sense have already made twice before! 'All Fall Down' adds virtually nothing to the minimalist passion of 'Jeopardy' and the following; more impressively structured 'From The Lion's Mouth' and, as such, is virtually worthless. By itself, it's not a particularly dull record but it stands not alone. As a progression or summary of the Sound's career, it is woefully stagnant, being full of cliched, overbearing arrangements that threaten to engulf the band's subtlety and integrity, burying them forever in a pit full of leaden, competent, uninspiring, acceptable (yet at the same time totally unacceptable from them!) standard songs. Or rather - not even that! 

While side two is uniformly crashingly forced with grinding riffs and a waiting 'emotional' intensity of frustration, this is merely symptomatic of the true problem - no bloody songs! At best, formularised efforts like 'Red Paint', the meandering 'Glass And Smoke'-and even side one's closing 'Where The Love Is' (if ever a title was less apt) are spirited rewrites of the stuff the Sound became justly recognised for with plodding bass, jarring guitar and crashing percussion. I mean, where's this album's "Missiles' or more importantly 'Silent Air', the purest, most genuine song they've ever committed to vinyl? The answer is that there are but two such shining, pumping examples of heart and intellect meshing. 'Party Of The Mind' may grate a little in its rogue arrogance, but the discordant ' keyboards are a delight. Which leaves 'Monument', a song of engaging simplicity and heartfelt compassion. It is gentle yet tough, sad yet inspirational, futile yet ambitious. It has spirit and definition, and shapes its own style rather than being dictated to.

It's only when I consult the label that I discover both of these songs were written by vocalist Adrian Borland alone, the rest being group compositions. Far be it for me to attempt to influence the Sound's future but I pray that whatever Adrian draws out of himself while alone, he dares not let it be contaminated by compromise. At present, the rock machinery is swallowing the Sound whole and, like a drowning man, the more they struggle, the worse they suffer through thrashing about. It's sad. But I still recall, "You showed me that silence/ Can speak louder than words". Look in the mirror, Adrian, before you all fall down. 


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