Articles / Reviews

The Sound - Renascent Men (The Mick issue no. 4 2004)

date: Apr 10, 2004


THE SOUND - Renascent Men 

Some bands are so great that you do feel proud to have seen them at their best, and some flickered and flared through a short lifespan during such busy times that you only got to see them a few times. The Sound were once such band. Having been interested in their earlier incarnation, The Outsiders, I was ready for The Sound. I saw them at places like the Moonlight, ICA and Marquee a few times, and they would never disappoint. The label Renascent is rereleasing everything, and uncovering rare material too. 

For anyone who doesn’t yet know The Sound, or how this ties in with anything Punk, Post- Punk and Goth-related I usually review, just remember they were there at the right time, and anybody with half a brain would agree they can be compared to Joy Division On Steroids, but this wasn’t copying, as The Sound were already established. Backtracking, The Outsiders would release two hideously rare albums, ‘Calling On Youth’ (77) and ‘Close Up’ (78) which showed a Punky resilience and brevity mixed with a dark soulful lamenting, with the emphasis actually on soul, which is quite strange. If you can at least find the bristling ‘One To Infinity’ single you’ll be well rewarded. They were one of those bands who had made a natural step into Punk, didn’t fit naturally and were largely ignored by all and sundry but from here they went on to great things.

Filled out, and up to a four piece, The Sound started well, with 1980’s ‘Jeopardy’ album capturing their wrath and social politics, along with the personal gloom, which then became resplendent and emotionally blown apart with ‘Lion’s Mouth’ in 1981. Nothing happened to match record company expectations, and drummer Michael Dudley acknowledges on sleevenotes to ‘ All Fall Down’ that ‘Lion’s Mouth’ didn’t sell anywhere near as well as their label expected and the pressure was on to come up with Corporate Commercial Rock Classics. “Well,” he remembers, “the going was getting weird, and so were we.” Cue disappointed record execs, which is pretty much how it should be, and the 1982 record is a genuine mess.

Then there was ‘Shock Of Daylight’ in 1984 and ‘Heads And Hearts’ a year later which saw them regaining their balance but while still creating some emotional styl, they were being left behind by their contemporaries. ‘In The Hothouse’ is a fine double live from the Marquee, because they were still a great live experience, and then, after the ‘Counting The Days’ sampler in 1986, the final proper album was ‘Thunder Up’ in 1987, and they quit in 1988. The reissues have recently been added to with the ‘BBC Sessions’ added, which is brilliant, and there exists an interesting album, ‘Propaganda’, which are the first Sound recordings and was regarded by the band as their actual proper debut. After The Sound, Adrian Borland continued to write and record with many artists as well as producing and guesting.

His work is well spotlit on the Brittle Heaven site including the end of his tragic story when he threw himself in front of a train. They have a shop covering some of his later releases. 

 Mick Mercer - The Mick issue no.4 

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