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The Sound - The Dutch Radio Recordings review (SoundsXP 29-06-2006)

date: Jun 29, 2006


The Sound Dutch Radio recordings - 5 cds 

I was initially full of trepidation as regards listening to 5 yes, 5 albums from a band who;well; ANY band, really. But I'm so glad I did.

I remember The Sound with great fondness from the early eighties. I bought their debut album 'Jeopardy' in 1980. Primarily, I suspect, because they were signed to Korova records, home to our heroes at the time, Echo and The Bunnymen. I recall being struck by quite how 'down' the whole feeling of their work was. Even in the context of the output of their contempories at the time The Cure, Joy Division and of course, the Bunnymen and, in an age when being anything other than quite gloomy was not really the done thing, wow, this lot were the real deal. They meant it, and it hurt. I was aware that lead singer and songwriter Adrian Borland eventually ended up killing himself (he threw himself under a train at Wimbledon station in 1999), and in many ways this was no surprise, following any lyrical analysis;"we will wait, for the night, we will wait".

He always seemed to be a deeply troubled, deeply dissatisfied man, who meant every word he sang, in that slightly husky but charismatic voice. And these recordings reinforce that school of thought. Recorded between 1981 and 1985 at various venues and festivals throughout the Netherlands, they document The Sound's seemingly inevitable position as one of music's Outsiders (also their original name - a nod to Mr. Camus, methinks), a gem-littered collection of songs, always knocking on the door, always thereabouts, always appreciated by the discerning few, yet never quite accepted by the mainstream, er, alternative. 

Maybe it was an aesthetic thing. Although they had the songs my goodness, they had the songs, alright;the anti-nuclear classic 'Missiles', "who the hell makes those missiles? When they know what they can do!", the aching, melodramatic optimism of 'Where The Love Is', and the sadly prophetic 'I Can't Escape Myself', "so many feelings, pent up in here, left alone I'm with, the one I most fear;", yes, they had the songs they never quite had the image. "I can't escape this sick world!" screams Borland during one of the live performances of 'I Can't Escape Myself', and, in between songs at the Utrecht No Nukes recordings asks "Is there anyone who doesn't like this?...FUCK OFF!" 

Borland's performances throughout are at least equal to any of Ian Curtis' almost maniacal shows, and the highlight (of which there are many), of the entire collection is the Arnhem Stokvishal rendition of 'Party Of The Mind', sounding like the top 20 hit it should have been, and never was. For those old enough to remember The Sound, and who, like me, had dipped an aural toe into their rock pool, I would suggest that this collection is an essential purchase. Chiefly in order to join the dots between the albums 'Jeopardy', 'All Fall Down', 'From The Lions Mouth' and 'Heads And Hearts'. 

For those NOT old enough to remember The Sound, I would suggest that this collection is an essential purchase. Chiefly in order to get the REAL feeling of life in the eighties. Life full of angst, intensity, concerns regarding the seemingly inevitable nuclear war, mass unemployment and social isolation. Oh, and the superb music offered by bands like The Sound; somewhere in the hinterland between new wave, post punk and classy synth driven pop. The Sound. What a waste. We should have loved them more. 

James G. - Sounds XP 2006 

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