The Sound - Jeopardy, From The Lion's Mouth, All Fall Down PLUS review
Fifteen years ago to the week, The Sound's ex-frontman-turned-solo singer songwriter ended his own life after battling with depression, a tragic event in itself.
Perhaps just as tragic and perplexing, apart from weary comparisons to Ian Curtis, was the great British music-buying public's indifference towards his body of work and in particular, his beloved band of earlier years. Belatedly, we have a box-set that updates and upgrades previous other label's game attempts to catalogue what The Sound meant and still mean to a loyal fan-base - the good news for the fans and the curious is that this 4-CD set is actually worth having and it's not expensive.
Comprised of their first three albums, b-sides, session tracks, live recordings and rare EP songs, Edsel's take is instead expansive, concise and well-presented with lengthy sleevenotes, lyrics and individual card replica sleeves.
Debut album Jeopardy gives The Cure and Echo and the Bunnymen a run for their money with a melange of bedroom paranoia and self-doubt (I Can't Escape Myself is a chilling portent), while the additional bonuses of debut single Physical World, plus Brute Force (b-side to the excellent Heyday single) and various BBC sessions and live tracks display a rawer side to a band renowned for cutting it in concert.
And the value-for-money continues on the other discs. From The Lion's Mouth is arguably their most impassioned collection of songs with Winning, Sense of Purpose and Contact The Fact as good a trio of opening songs as you could wish to cherish. You can certainly hear where the likes of Into Paradise (who had their immense Churchtown album produced by Borland) or Editors got their initial visions and ideas from. The John Peel session and more b-sides continue the story on this disc.
Factory artist Kevin Hewick pops up on four songs on disc three - his collaborative EP with Borland's charges is heartfelt and enjoyable and rounds off the otherwise mixed bag of the album All Fall Down and its sessions rather nicely. For the fourth disc, you can bask in the visceral live delights of highlights from two shows in 1981 and 1985 - my, how a band can grow in just a few years. And, for the record, The Sound don't resemble Joy Division - they sound like, well, The Sound. Good, that's cleared that lazy myth up.
Like Comsat Angels, Music For Pleasure, The Names, Modern Eon and In Camera, The Sound oozed a defiantly confident prowess that was dripping with melancholia and often brutal, brittle, brilliant beyond belief. Essential.