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The Sound - Thunder Up review (Big Takeover 23-12-1987)

date: Dec 23, 1987


THE SOUND - Thunder Up /Hand of Love/ Iron Years 
(Play It Again Sam BEL, NETTWERK CAN) 

Here it is folks, at long last the 6th LP by the Sound (plus the live one). Mostly, Thunder Up finds Adrian Borland and company going back to their starkly beautiful, minimal landscape pop and overloaded pop bullets that made their 3rd LP All Fall Down (recorded at the same studio, coincidentally) such an interesting work. Again they scrap the cohesive feel of the '85 masterplece Heads and Hearts, and back comes the scattered collection of strange turns, dark passages, open fields, and then back to a forbidding woods.

The best song is the opening 'Acceleration Group,' along with From the Lion's Mouth's 'Winning' the finest recording of their long career. As fast as a speed skate with the wind in your face, and suddenly shifting gears 2/3 of the way through to a leisurely campfire to warm your hands only to return to the speed skate. 'Acceleration Group' is a sensational track, perhaps the first one they've ever done that bowls over all listeners, right from the opening seconds! So much for the Sound as acquired taste! Phew! After that out-of-breath beginning, The Sound have your attention, and they're intent on taking you whatever direction they feel like. One or two tracks sound like a soundtrack for Kubrick's Dr.Strangelove or Marooned for their doomed-in-space and the horror of technology sound (especially the b-side of both singles, 'The Fall of Europe' which makes the purchase of either mandatory). 'Hand of Love' and 'Web of Wicked Ways' brings out Borland's Velvets' Influence; pretty, sighing pop with a strange, inexplicable depth. Kinetic is just that, an off-toned piece of fired dissonance with sexual innuendo pierced through the squeal, while the ending I Give You Pain' builds like a trash can fire becomes a towering inferno, from extreme quiet to a roar of distortion (Into the red). 

Then, the piece-de-resistance (bad French, I know), the most emotional track is the ending one (2 straight they ended on such a pulling note. last time the heartbreaking 'Temperature Drop'), 'You've Got a Way.' with descending little piano and unbelievable strings as deep as the Black Sea (occasionally flanked by rapid lightning bolts of guitar which clap and vanish instantly), which dismantles your defences and makes you out and out swoon like a lovesick sheep. By the time you get off this non-stop rollercoaster of faith, expectation, disenchantment, gentle joy and crushing disappointment, you feel like you just became the wheel of fortune and you've been spinning so much you don't know if you're bankrupt or you struck the emotional jackpot. In 30 years, when the Sound are 60 times bigger than they are today, people will wonder how anyone could settle for anything less than such an stunning. moving juggernaut. And by now. The Sound (Borland especially) has proven their genius, their standard so far above all others. Buy anything with their name on it!!! 

THE BIG TAKEOVER nr.23 December 1987

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