Articles / Reviews

The Sound - BBC Recordings sleevenotes pt. 2

date: Dec 14, 2003


Got Live If You Want It 

I'm glad that Pete Drummond managed to avoid saying "mucho aclaimo" in his introduction... Lots of fans and particularly friends of the band at the time (hi guys'n'gals) whipping up a riot of response to the songs at every opportunity. I like the way the live engineer suddenly wakes up to the presence of a bass drum half-way through "Skeletons". Then loses it again in "Fatal Flaw". Nevertheless, a good gig despite the rather antiseptic surroundings of the BBC's Lower Regent Street venue. Adrian's masterly use of his "less is more" principle within Colvin's cinematic keyboards is something I've never heard done as well since by any of our copyists (you know who you are).

Then there's that solo in "Heartland" - rock guitar at its absolute best. despite the speed (or perhaps because of it) at which I was pushing him along. Then "This is beat music!'" - thanks Adi. His vocal performance is absolutely magnificent here too. Losing none of his natural note-perfect timbre despite the impassioned and heartfelt delivery, as in "Winning", for instance. Again, Graham and I are working really well together at the back. I think he'd just got himself a proper guitar - Fender "Jazz" bass - and had developed that "throaty" sound quality that I really liked. Dunno how Carlene Carter coped coming on after that performance, but we didn't hang around to find out. 

I simply love that intro used at the second recording - a re-mix of "Monument". I think it captures the essence and spirit of the track much better than the original. Yet another fine example of the "less is more" principle. The sound quality of this concert is better too - after hearing the previous recording we insisted that our live sound engineer (John "Antman" Ivory) supervise the mixing. The tracks from "Heads and Hearts" here illustrate the spirit that had us in its grip by that stage. Adrian is not a happy man in 1985 and boy, does he let us know all about it. It's not a comfortable listen, but like all his work is completely honest. As ever he's not putting on a "show" - he really means it.

We invited Ian Nelson along for the trip after touring with his then band - northern synthi-pop trio "Fiat Lux" - as our support in Holland that year. Ian's saxophone adds an unexpected and rich layer - I think his playing is atypical of what you would expect from a sax player in a rock band, one reason we liked playing with him so much. The instrumental sections in "Whirlpool" are nothing short of astonishing - you'd have to look hard to find that level of intensity elsewhere. The version of "Missiles" - always at its best live - is one of the all-time great screams of rage and defiance ever committed to tape. After that explosion of loathing and disgust, what more is there to say? 

Without this release, the very best of our creative existence would have been lost. Now The Sound will live longer, for those who already know and care to listen, and also for those who will discover it as something new. 

"It exists". 

Michael Dudley. Leatherhead, Surrey 14/12/03 

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