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The Sound - Thunder Up review (Melody Maker 6-12-1987)

date: Dec 6, 1987



They are the Josephine Bakers of rock. Never what you expect, never lumbered with one lyrical lynchpin, never presenting variables for variety's sake and appreciated more elsewhere than their native sandpit. Two years of "silence" and a credit card suddenly slips your lock, men in black thereby burgling your defenses. A tightrope, shared, between the Borland vocals and the turbulence of alligator bass flies provocatively above the prettier guitars and drums with additional keyboards and brass bringing a touch of life down the wings. 

Welcome confusion, that works on two levels. Their blank image hides frosted weariness, defiant observation disturbing any placid pique. Their sound, conventional only in set-up, belies the depth and malevolence of their pitter-patter as Borland makes you ashamed of your pessimism. "Shut Up And Shut Down" tickles and crawls through hateful emptiness every bit as biting as the more obvious two-ply ballads "Hand Of Love" and "I Give You Pain". The implied threat of mindless, mawkish muck never materializes because the wounds always want to remain open, only apparently transparent, the kick really does occur inside. It never hurts to have the Pulomonary Art Ache, to find emotions and memories stirred by a cool blue fog of guitar, and the lean but incisive melodic devastation of "You've Got A Way" achieves a landmine of a victory here.

They can be flawed, like the crump of "Kinetic" or the thwipp of "Barria Alta" but that claustrophobia also doubles as a rarified atmosphere Unlike the grand deceits of similarly inclined, fictitiously humble, rock bands (yes. I'm implying U2). where you can always foresee the peaks and step lazily over dubious depressions, untroubled by grimaces or real anguish on vinyl, The Sound, by refining their despair simply amplify their magnificence and magnify the intensity of expression. They've never been bad and they've never been better. Play it incessantly. 


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