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The Sound - The Dutch Radio Recordings review (GothTronic 25-07-2006)

date: Jul 25, 2006

The Sound - The Dutch radio recordings 
A couple of years ago it was difficult to obtain records by The Sound, but since Renascent began to re-issue the band's discography things have become much easier. In fact, there is now even more available than 20 years ago! Apart from the marvellous "In The Hothouse" double live LP and the extremely rare "Live Instinct" EP no official live-recordings have been released during the 1980's. For those wanting to hear more live concerts of The Sound things have become luxurious with "The Dutch Radio Recordings". It's a set of five concerts taped by Dutch radio-stations between 1981 and 1985. Post-punk has always found fertile grounds in The Netherlands, some bands were even more popular here than in their native country and because of that they performed here often and released special albums or singles for the Dutch market. One of those bands was The Sound. They played in The Netherlands more than in any other foreign country, they had a very warm relationship with their Dutch fans and this pleasantly priced series gives a wonderful insight in how they sounded in the low countries. 

1. Amsterdam, Paradiso 8/3/1981: 
It's surprisingly that no songs from the 'debut album that never was' (Propaganda) appear during this concert because at the end of the concert the band runs out of songs and has to play "Heyday" again. Most probably those very early compositions were considered to be unsuitable for concerts or hadn't been rehearsed. The band's punk influences (The Sound emerged out of punkband The Outsiders) are still quite prominent here, with Adrian Borland spilling his guts and giving political advice ("fuck your government"). It was the first time the band played in Paradiso and they would return many times. Unpolished versions of songs that would later that year appear on "From The Lion's Mouth" give this CD an extra historical dimension. "Fatal Flaw" gives me goose pumps. The Sound was a great band from the very start. 

2. Utrecht, No Nukes Festival 9/4/1982: 
The electronic percussion used on the opener "All Fall Down" doesn't seem to fit the band. The third album by The Sound recieved mixed comments and it's title-track just hasn't the immediate appeal and sense of urgence The Sound is known for. Adrian's voice sounds raw and out of tune, the band plays on tempo, sometimes the keyboardist has difficulties maintaining the speed. Adrian wants to make a statement rather than deliver beautiful, well-crafted tunes. His contact with the audience is more direct, which isn't that strange because the whole festival was about a particular message: No nukes! And that calls for a more talkative approach. "Where The Love Is" sounds better in it's live version presented here than the studio version. The same goes for "Glass and Smoke", the added energy and fury lifts it to higher standards. This already lengthy composition is stretched ever further with long psychedelic solos and interplay that add to it a strong, dramatic atmosphere. The slow pace of "New Dark Age" suddenly erupts into something frantic, vibrance is all around. The energy recuperated during "Silent Air" is unleashed on "Missiles", the song the audience was waiting for. It was the only logical closer of the concert because of it's lyrics. Adrian shines his own light on nuclear power. It's a document of an era many people in their 30's and older can still vividly remember. 

3. Arnhem, Stokvishal 24/1/1983: 
A more "decent" concert, which gives the band opportunities to execute their songs in a more skillfull way. This time the songs from "All Fall Down" sound convincing, the audience does yell for something fast and furious occasionally (mostly "Missiles", which they didn't play), but they seem to be satisfied with the newer songs. When the title-track is performed they even sing along and they later call out for "Monument". The relatively high pitched percussion during the first half gives the concert a lighter touch which isn't that bad, but especially on "New Dark Age" it should have been deeper and lower. The dark nature of the song is diminished because of that. "Oiled" and "Who's Sorry Now" are something rare, these fine compositions never found their way onto an album. For that reason this CD is a must for The Sound devotees. A vivid "Sense Of Purpose" is followed by a first encore that included "Party Of The Mind" and the much welcomed "Winning" (fans voted this song as their favorite). As a final encore "Heartland" is played, for those "cool bastards" as Adrian Borland tags the audience. The relation with the Dutch fans was always strong, they loved playing here. 

4. Den Haag, Parkpop Festival 1/7/1984 
As an opening statement Adrian informs the audience that: "We don't do Missiles anymore, we never do the obvious thing". They would play the song during later concerts but "Missiles" is indeed absent again. The "Shock Of Daylight" EP had just been released and the band already reveals three songs from 1985's "Head and Hearts" LP ("Under You", "Total Recall" and "Burning Part Of Me"). After the less well received "All Fall Down" the band took a short recording hiatus and struck back, defying the critics. "We're winning", as Adrian shouts during "Winning". The version of "Monument" is formidable; subtle, gloomy and with the necessary tension. The "Golden Soldiers" perform a speed march, this pace is maintained untill the stretched "New dark age" appears. It's gloom reaches new forms of bleakness here. "Heartland" is played with the heart, and the Dutch fans believe in that Heartland called The Sound. The "Party Of The Mind" turns into a real rock 'n' roll party, The Sound knows how to entertain the crowd and does that with confidence. 

5. Utrecht, Vrije Vloer 9/4/1985 
The longest concert of this series, 17 songs alltogether. Adrian had the flu, and his voice sounds like it from time to time. He decided to go ahead with the concert nevertheless. How's that for appreciating your fans? The saxophone is played by Fiat Lux member Ian Nelson, who sadly passed away this year on sunday 23 April, his 50th birthday. He adds something jazzy which enhances the songs. The concert features a curiosity: "World As It Is", with it's relentless rhythm and the churning machine-like intensity, never made it onto vinyl. Because of Adrian being ill he tries to spare his voice, but as the concert proceeds he can no longer restrain himself and sings out in his well-know way. He needs some background vocal support though. The band should have been a major act in 1985 but unfortunatily things did not progress that well. In The Netherlands they were welcomed with open arms, playing an increasing number of gigs. Their last tour took place almost entirely on Dutch soil before they disbanded in early 1988. 

Reviewed by Nightporter - 2006

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