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The Sound - Jeopardy 5 star review (Sounds 1-11-1980)

date: Nov 1, 1980


 

THEY'RE A MODERN BAND 

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

The Arbitrariness, the inconsistencies of rock tend to help arid hinder, but more hinder a band such as The Sound. It makes some look at their precocity with doubt. Others to laugh off their unglorious roots, the Outsiders. Others will see the 'playing mistakes' of 'Jeopardy' as proof that they 're utterly useless. Even more will just refuse to credit that an unknown quantity could make a from 'nowhere debut album this good, and, finally, moaners like myself will continually search for evidence that it is this good. will make us dig out the certainty of little things like passion and warmth. Here's the news. 'Jeopardy' is that good and more. It keeps sounding better and better all the time. There's a richness and a true depth here that places 'Jeopardy' alongside 'Boy' as early ' eighties' tonics for ailing mainstream-rock, that gives that almost bankrupt era the spirit and sheer modernity of the best moderns. It's an album about not giving in. Its form is a practically incredible, but consistently effective synthesis of Teardrop-meets'-Bunnymen (and survives the strain). 

The Sound are on to a winner. In their fusion of the two Liverpool heroes chubby leader Adrian Borland possesses Mac's darkly dark traditionalism together with the saving (cheerful) grace of Julian Cope's liquid pop fascination. But the tugging between the two fiery moods never strains, indeed never fails. There isn't one track here that isn't thoroughly compulsive. At times, the three-man-one girl line-up veers towards thinness, there's maybe too much concentration on Borland's guitar which goes through all kinds of aural gyrations to retain surprise and power elements. But: overall it's a vastly impressive sound, with as much energy as I've heard on any record alt year. As I said when reviewing the 45 'Heyday' the result is a form of sheer power-rock that doesn't make you blush or grimace. The Sound take the traditional rock ethos of power and steam and place it in an unself conscious modern context. The Sound make the use of strong-sounding guitars not an antiquated practice. Their refurbishing of apparently olden tactics is that good. The danger is it will be seen as a pose. Intrinsically, how much within The Sound themselves it is a pose I can't say. 

On the considerate strength of 'Jeopardy' the effusive Borland means every word of it, his passion goes unquestioned, and there is no style to speak of at all yet, a nice thought when you think of the currently garish and hyper-styled Bunnymen themselves. This absence of style, their utter precocity, their visual incongruity (Borland looks like a ten year old Benny Hill) all make The Sound a strangely strange band. But it doesn't stop it being an inconspicuous but feat missing-link between the Modernist Jam and the vibrantly Post Mod Joy Division, The Sound: for those who refuse to succumb to r'n'r middle age. 

DAVE MCCULLOUGH 



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