Articles / Reviews

The Sound - Interview by Chris Westwood (Record Mirror 22-11-1980)

date: Nov 22, 1980



It's time to listen to The Sound. Fellow - sufferers on Sounds and NME have already brought The Sound into the light, given them the formal introductions: here's another one.

The Sound are already concerned about being with us at the right time, rnaking their mark on the revolving circle, if not jumping off it, tapping away in their way. The Sound is four people: Graham Green. Adrian Borland, Bi (Benita) Marshall. Michael Dudley. They've made an album - 'Jeopardy - without warning, and they like the dark and possibly the art. The Sound has yet to come fully out of itself, and perhaps it's better off without a means and direction we can readily identify, until it's broken the circle. U2 have broken the circle: Wah? Heat have broken the circle; Doll By Doll have broken it; few others have broken it. One -tirne luminaries like The Fall and The Pop Group are gradually breaking themselves. The ska people, the "new" punks, the industrialists, etcetera, effectively are the circle. These are the things we have to break: bitterness, hypocrisy, drugs. false motivations, dreams. We have to break things down to hard facts. act quickly, look forward hopefully. exchange ideas and feelings, smile at the light instead of scowl at the dark. 

Smash! The Sound walk in, happy and lively, eager to explain themselves: underneath, they could be just paranoid. "I'm just paranoid." explains vocalist Adrian, once I've gone to great lengths to explain to him that I'm not suspicious of The Sound. but merely worried: I worry about the things I care about. I'm starting to care about The Sound. They're worried by my worrying, and I'm being very careful ... 'Jeopardy' is an album of flawed greatness, cutting a fine line between light and dark: the words face out and away, the music lunges forward, arms open. heart beating. It has the passion, the drive, the rise and fall You could call it realist music. "it's realist music," decides Graham, once we've tentatively broached the subject of Joy Division (my fault), "that's what Joy Division are ... they've opened the way for us and for lots of bands. It's as though they're at the top, representing all the right things whereas someone like Spandau Ballet are at the bottom, showing us what not to do. They're everything that's wrong." 

EVERYTHING that's wrong? We could make you a list. a long list. We could get destructive about it. but there isn't time - things flashing by so fast. time withering away. Ine circle gaining momentum. We don't have time to smash things; just build them. The Sound can't be bothered to smash things; they're too busy watching themselves and the world outside. Adrian Borland talks incessantly, frantically: I feel he's taking my opinions as hatchet - criticisms, that he's defensive. Perhaps he's just paranoid. Perhaps I'm being ambiguous, ' I'm just paranoid," he offers, beaming. The rock business thrives on paranoia:' knowing this makes people paranoid. I worried that Adrian's worrying about my worries. And here we go again. The Sound is a tight reflection of the times - its worries, problems, disparities, optimisms (who the hell makes those problems?). 

The Sound aren't a solution: iust a mirror. What else can they do? Let's iust say that The Sound are good and there's a lot of bad in the way. Things are wrong across the board - from record companies to music papers, from group force to individual misguidance. I'm happy now but worried about those who aren't, and worried about why they aren't. Forget The Clash and all those impending Americans! The Sound aren't supposed to be that important: they've nothing to live up to bar ambition. They're free, for now. But the holes are small. Adrian has a pint glass in front of him and looks happy, even though he might be a bit paranoid. He used to be in a group called The Outsiders, and The Sound grew up from there. That's history . . . And the future? 'Missiles'? Nukes? Things to worry about? ('Who the hell makes those missiles?") "Well, 'Missiles' is an anti -war song, if you like… it's anti people blowing the shit out of other people … but in your review you made it sound a bit trendy, really, which it isn't. The song's a year and a half old. and wasn't related to anything like CNO at the time. It's just unfortunate it was released the same week as the rally .." And Graham laughs: "We're also getting things like Dave McCullough (Sounds) wondering whether the fact that we seem quite normal is a pose..." Adrian: '"There are people who really care about things like nuclear power and you can't blame those people. But on the other hand, you have the ones who like Joy Division because Ian Curtis died, for example. Those people don't matter, anyway, they never do anything, never create anything ... they probably live in Covent Garden. There's no such thing as a musical void now - it's more a fashion void. the sort of thing Spandau Ballet are into, that nothingness." They bitch some more about Spandau Ballet. Poor Spandau! I totally agree ... "There seems to be a strong undercurrent of doubt about us at the moment." Adrian persists, "I mean ... we do like things that are supposedly trendy … like Joy Division. Michael, who seldom speaks, speaks. "I hated Joy Division at first: I thought what's this crap? But then I was tied in a chair and forced to listen to them for two weeks." But the point is ... "But the point is," goes Adrian. "we're not going to go out and make an album like 'Closer', Us being real doesn't mean we have to sound like Joy Division ... wearing long overcoats is not us. This thing at the moment about passion being a fashion ... I just don't know. I do know that if and when we drop off it won't change us. "We don't consciously worry about falling off: we don't worry oh no, are we getting worse?" 

Perhaps The Sound will grow: I hope they do. There ought to be more room in the confused era of postpunk - room for newness and truth, things that move us and help us - but there's less. They're trying to close the doors. They're pushing and buying Kelly Marie instead of U2, and Rod Stewart (still) instead of The Sound: and the holes are getting smaller and the circle is revolving ever faster. And … I'm starting to like The Sound a lot. They are that acute reflection of what's needed, that spark, that sharp coming together of influence and intent: which could be their saviour or their downfall. They feel right. The Sound are direct and happy … and perhaps just a little paranoid. "Perhaps I'm just paranoid," grins Adrian, almost relieved by what he's said. Perhaps a little paranoia will go a long way to keeping him safe and .. sound. Perhaps. 

Record Mirror 22-11-1980

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