Articles / Reviews

The Sound - Live at the Marquee (Melody Maker 2-6-1984)

date: Jun 2, 1984


Marquee, London 21-5-1984 

You don't often get an optimistic sign that somewhere in this toilet bowl called musical taste things might be shifting in the direction of quality, because the airbrushed media men decree how things ought to be. Will your favourite single be 'Karma Chameleon' or 'Every Breath You Take', or will it perhaps be one of your own choice?, the latter half being said with a sneer. Bands like The Sound should have realised by now that they have no right to be playing anywhere like The Marquee. The Ad Lib perhaps, or The Golden Lion. anywhere that their unkempt, sweaty bodies might be less conspicuous. Because The Sound do sweat. By the bucketload And they do it through the strenuous efforts to bring to life the moody concoctions that have customarily sweltered in the grooves of their under exposed records.

When the masterful Adrian Borland (who makes Robert Smith look a total beginner in the ill-fitting stakes) beams to thrash his limbs and his guitar like Mickey Rooney's eighth heart attack, the evening dissolves into a narrow arc of concentration. Even the people hip-hopping around the stage front like their lives depended on it aren't simply testing their heels, they're wrapped up in emotional projection. The Sound get a clipped ear for nothing more than their bias towards the up-tempo (but at least it does get up) in larger amounts than may be good for them. Elsewhere their flair and zeal do wonders for cynical dawdlers who pop along "on the off chance" (then nip home to dig out some records more eagerly than they have done for ages). The Sound are definitely a group, but whenever I've seen them it is this bizarre Borland man who grabs the attention as his bulging eyes and tortured veins encompass the very best in heart-bursting effort and communication. 

It should be The Sound who have to wrestle with enormous royalties and the dangers of festival appearances rather these withered crutches U2 and Big Country. Whether Ade could actually run round the stage is another matter altogether, but above all else The Sound matter. The rhythms are perhaps traditional but they never seem so. The keyboard (often a silly noise with other bands) makes sense, and how that guitar makes such a fascinating sound must remain Master Borland's secret. Like a hummingbird, his arms become a blur. His eyes stare into space and somewhere in a dusty corner that apparition called JUSTICE slowly begins paying attention. And it's about time too. 

MICK MERCER (Melody Maker 2-6-1984)

<< previous page