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The Sound - Jeopardy 5 star review (Melody Maker 6-11-1980)

date: Nov 6, 1980


 

SOUNDING OUT 

THE SOUND 'Jeopardy' 
(Korova Kode 2) *****
 

"JEOPARDY" is one of those records that makes me want to throw all the windows open, crank it up to full volume and blast it out to the world. It clears my head of boredom, strips away the gloom, and single-handedly restores my belief in the power of pop to make people stop, think and question. It's a record that scratches at the status quo. It's a record in a million. Unfortunately, trying to explain why I love it so much forces me to fall back on words like "spirit" and "soul" that have become so debased through careless overuse that they're practically impotent. Never mind, "Jeopardy" has got more spirit, more soul and more downright honesty about it than any other record I've heard this year. 

In attempting to cut through all the craft and tradition of rock 'n' roll, to aim straight for its heart, The Sound seem to have disregarded all normal studio techniques, tricks and embellishments and have gone for a no-nonsense, totally open representation of their live sound. That this sometimes fails is evidence enough of the enormity of their mission; that it often succeeds is bloody amazing. As a result of this warts 'n' all approach, ignoring any real attempt at production, the songs are stripped so bare that all their flaws, as well as all their strengths, are laid open to scrutiny. "Desire", for instance, is dirge like and structurally loose and ragged, exposing how weak and cracked Adrian Borland's voice can be when he over reaches himself; and how pretentious his simple lyrics can sound when the band's full musical muscle isn't employed behind him. On the other hand, "Missiles" profits from this bravely Spartan approach; it's raw disgust and passion is expressed cleanly and unhindered through his strangled, twisting guitar and abrupt Iyrical shorthand. "Missiles cause damage" must be the helpless understatement of this, or any other year, and the song marvellously reduces the outrageous, unthinkable results of nuclear holocaust to the basic spirited but futile human response: "Who the hell makes those missiles?" Well they know what they, can do!" 

'Jeopardy' plays no games. There's never any attempt to disguise Borland's hero workship of Jim Morrison, Lou Reed and, above alI Iggy Pop. Equally, there's no pretence that Bi Marshall's keyboards are capable of anything other than providing atmospheric filling behind the gyrating guitar. The Sound never pretend and and when they overstep the mark, it's not the result of delusions of grandeur but more their naked enthusiasm. Bolstered by Graham Green's bass and Michael Dudley's drums, The Sound can slither like a reptile ("Hour Of Need"), rock-out with the best of them ("Words Fail Me") or simply leave everybody else in another ball-park with What must be one of my all-time favourite, "Unwritten Law." Here, as in all great pop music, the spaces count as much as the Riffs and The Sound prove they have that rare distinction to know exactly what to leave out and where. It's this instinctive approach to their material and utter ignorance of the red herrings of presentation or the trappings of style that give them the edge over U2, The Bunnymen or The Teardrops as Britain's brightest hopes. I'm sorry if all this is over the top but please don't take it from me. Investigate now and discover the true sound of the Heartland !!! 

STEVE SUTHERLAND 
MELODY MAKER, 6-11-1980

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