Articles / Reviews

The Sound - Live at the Zig Zag Club London 11-6-1982

date: Jun 11, 1982


Sound of the new dark age 

THE SOUND Zig Zag Club, 
11-06-1982 London

FRESH from their triumph as MM singles reviewers last week, The Sound decided to capitalise on their success as media pundits by playing a gig. But first The Alarm. They are a quartet of cheeky youths from Rhyl, who have ignored everything that's happened in the last few years and come on stage equipped with three acoustic guitars and a drum kit. The result, as someone -once observed, is reminiscent of an acoustic early Clash, especially since Alarmist Eddie looks like Mick Jones. Later, he picks up an electric guitar. The sound is rough and brash, though it wasn't as abrasively urgent here as the last time I saw them in some dodgy Hammersmith pub. They have some striking songs though, especially the melodic and slightly grandoise "Pavilion Steps". On the debit side, the songs sometimes start to sound alike despite the nervous energy, and the one about "the man from the CIA" is hideously reminiscent of Lindisfarne (exit critic with head in bag). But with this much collective electricity being generated, someone's in for a shock soon. 

And so the main event, and Adrian Borland's boys took an opportunity to preview some new songs from the forthcoming LP among older favourites. The Sound are currently a cohesive foursome capable of generating some fearsome intensity. They have more heart than many give them credit for. Tonight they were mostly persuasive and occasionally startling. Of the new songs, the best was "Monument', which Borland dedicated to girls. It's an expansive piece structured around vast guitar arpeggios and spacious colourings from keyboardman Max Mayers major! Borland's central guitar break suggested strongly that he's developing into a player of distinction, never flash but always adding to the debate.

Also new was the spiky "In Suspense", while not so new was a hugely atmospheric "Silent Air". The Sound could use some lighter textures in their material 'cos songs like "New Dark Age" are never going to fit into the "effervescent new pop" bracket. Still, Borland keeps things nicely informal by such gestures as bellowing " what's that bloody noise?" at the unfortunate sound man (it was Graham Green's bass amp) and throwing full glasses of beer into the startled crowd. The Sound are not going to be written off without a damn good fight, and watch out for the album, whatever label it ends up on. 


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