Articles / Reviews

The Sound - Songs for the Brave (Venue/London 21-1-1982)

date: Jan 21, 1982


THE SOUND - Songs for the brave 

The Venue, London 21-1-1982

A year ago, you would've got the top of your head shaved off at a Sound gig. A year has changed them, though. Still refusing to take prisoners, the Sound now mount their passionate charges with stealth, a greater concern for clarity and balance. These days, the emphatic points of Adrian Borland's vividly articulate, desperately worried songs are no longer blurred by frenzy. The Sound have cooled down; less headstrong, they've learned to harbour their massive firepower, making their inevitable outbursts more thrillingly formidable that ever.

"From The Lion's Mouth" was the first recorded evidence of this canny reserve, but it was an approach they'd been refining since Max Mayers replaced Bi and atmosphere. They refused to be hurried or cajoled, allowed each song to assert its own identity, impose its own emotional temperature. "Winning", for instance, was sultry, played with a brooding sincerity that slowly seduced the listener into its swirling orbit. "Sense Of Purpose" was more urgent, an invitation to shake it to dance in the ruins. Similarity structured around a deliberately conceived momentum.

"Unwritten Law" was memorable for Borland's haunted, genuinely pained guitar signatures: describing the song's tension and anger in brilliant, startled statements, Borland contrived a forbidding climax that was only eclipsed by the final explosion of "New Dark Age" Valiant, valuably independent, the Sound have outgrown tired comparisons with the Comsats, the Bunnymen and Joy Division. As from now, the Sound are setting the pace and the standards that the others have to match. 

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