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The Sound - Jeopardy 5 star review (New Musical Express 13-11-1980)

date: Nov 30, 1980


 

MOANY MINOR 

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

This could be a starkly calculated cash in on the seamier, dreamier trends and tendencies of these our favourite post-punk days. Certainly its approach to pressure, culture, circumstance is simplistic, and The Sound noise wavers in the shadows of the sounds of both ends of the Mersey, a passionate echo of the Bunnymen (with teardrop keyboards), a constant process of diving and rising, what is now a comfortable combination of interests (Iggy, Doors, solipsism, human rights, ghastly ends, ghosts, love and more). 

Yet The Sound smack not of contrivance but of over-eagerness and a blotchy conviction draws life into music. They're not primarily attracted by the darling decay or romantic gloom of new fashion, but more by the craft and structure, its shapeliness and atmosphere. 'Jeopardy' is a smashingly commercial deployment of recent pop shifts and exploits, concerned with having serious fun with form, with exploring interior life and routine gullibility with a scrappy but earnest wonder. There are lots of songs I want to hear as singles on the Andy Peebles Show right now. 'I Can't Escape Myself', 'Heartland', 'Hour Of Need', 'Words Fail Me', 'Heyday', 'Jeopardy', 'Resistance'. I still think 'Unwritten Law' is their best song - if all the LP streamed along like this it would be more an album and less a crinkly bag of singles. 

The Sound stand for nothing. Will never lead the way; a way. They demonstrate the virtues of simple, unadorned form. There's a tickle or two of pretension, an unintentional blob of tackiness, a bit of plebby soul searching, an undisguised and important craving for attention. There's a fascination with misery and certain scenes of impotence but no insight. The words must remain in the background, a distant, glum appraisal of insecurity and insanity, The Sound are a minor modern pop group. They have no obvious audience, but this is because Radio One and TOTP should make a audience for them - a function Radio One especially and TOTP naturally is forgetting to a scandalous degree as they veer into the MOR with sombre stupidity and gross negligence. Without Radio One speeding and spinning them through their five hit singles in 18 months, the sound will be forced to hang on and hang on through an ignoble anonymity waiting for something to happen which never will and then they'll fall apart. Cheated by a media that is perverting the whole course of pop history. 

Paul Morley 
N.M.E., 13-11-1980

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