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The Sound - Jeopardy review (Whisperin' and Hollerin')

date: May 14, 2001


 

THE SOUND - JEOPARDY (WARNER/RENASCENT U.K.)

One of the many great things about perhaps the UK’s most unfairly forgotten Post-Punk band THE SOUND is that they arrived fully formed and fantastic with their debut album, "Jeopardy" late in 1980. Just one spin of the newly-re-issued article (with bonus 4-track live CD) gives you the tingles. Despite signing to Warners offshoot label KOROVA (home to ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN) and initially basking in the purple prose from the British press, Surrey’s THE SOUND never properly escaped the confines of the Cult cul-de-sac, which is both ridiculous when you consider the vitality of their output and tragic when you realise their leader Adrian Borland (guitar/ vocals) ended up jumping under a train three years back. I never had the pleasure of meeting Adrian personally (and I would have loved to professionally), but listening to any of his work, you’re immediately struck by his fire, passion and commitment and nowhere is it more apparent than on "Jeopardy" – the embodiment of a band bursting hungrily from the traps with an album that still matters today. Striking up a fruitful partnership with engineer/ producer Nick Robbins at the small, but perfectly formed Elephant Studios in Wapping, London, THE SOUND quickly completed "Jeopardy" – their only album to feature the original line up of Borland, bassist Graham Bailey (aka Graham Green), drummer Mike Dudley and Benita Marshall (aka Biltoo – keyboards/ sax) and twenty-two years later it fizzes with both a sawn-off punky aggression and a fierce intelligence that belies the band’s youth. The edgy "I Can’t Escape Myself" leads off, all the more powerful for only truly erupting towards its’ climax, but it’s the ragin’ full on "Heartland" that reminds you bands this good could once write anthems without keeping one eye on stadium demographics.

THE SOUND were also undeniably great whether attacking big external issues ("Missiles") or the personal/ internal – witness "Resistance" or "Hour Of Need". Regardless of subject matter they’re never less than urgent or convincing. And they worked so well as a unit. Naturally, Borland’s the focal point, the commitment and heart pouring off him while his coruscating guitar work tattoos itself all over tunes like "Heartland", "Missiles" and "Jeopardy" itself. Meantime, Biltoo’s keyboards (and sax on the cracking "Words Fail Me") fill the requisite spaces and the Green/ Dudley rhythm section are crucial: surging forward and driving Borland to even greater heights. "Jeopardy" now comes in a new package with original artwork, lyrics, insightful sleeve notes from manager Stephen Budd and drummer Mike Dudley and – best of all – an ultra-rare Holland – only live EP from 1981, finding THE SOUND in (incredibly) even more wired and intense form. There are two non-LP cuts in "Brute Force" and "Coldbeat", but probably best of all is "Jeopardy" itself. When Adrian shrieks, "Lost the will to keep up the pace!" I defy the hairs on anyone’s neck not to stand up. As you’ll see if you read on here, THE SOUND had plenty of genius in reserve over the next six years or so (and on into Adrian’s solo career), but nowhere is it more starkly realised than on "Jeopardy." It really is time you got acquainted.

2001 - TIM PEACOCK - Whisperin' & Hollerin'



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