Mar 2, 2011

RhoDeo 1109 Aetix

Hello, todays post showcases a band that i really cared about at the time, and not just because i met them twice but because their music had something to say aswell. I go asfar as to saying that it was this poetic inkling that blocked their path to succes, UK lads have no patience for deep emotions, they have the pub to wash those away, thats why you will find the UK youths staggering thru the city center on weekend nights. I've seen it upclose, they can't handle emotions so they need to binge themselves into stupor (curse of the druids perhaps).
Anyway less intense and more pretentious acts like U2, Simple Minds and Echo and The Bunnymen sold shitloads of albums in the UK, whilst the true post-punk art from The Sound fell by the wayside. Only across the channel in Germany, Belgium and specially the Netherlands were they reckognised for their great music. I've told Adrian the 2nd time we met, prophets are rarely reckonized in their own country. He didnt agree obviously, he didnt feel like a prophet he just wrote from his heart and gave it a voice. Hmm tough', but history has seen many an artist understood after his death, a death that came 12 years ago whilst on anti depressants that unhinged him completely and saw him jump infront of a train. So very unlike the man i knew, he would have taken a more creative poetic way out not a messy jump.

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The Sound might be the most unfairly ignored post-punk band, both in their time and currently. Doubly strange are the impressive punk credentials of bandleader Adrian Borland, who died in 1999. His earlier band The Outsiders was the first punk band to release a record (Calling On Youth) on their own label in May 1977. By 1979, the band had evolved into The Sound, the most powerful live band at the time, with a voice that recalled the Bunnymen's Ian McCullough, a heavy melodic bass style like Joy Division's Peter Hook, and a fiery guitar style unmatched by anyone.

They received their first break of sorts from Stephen Budd, an early supporter since the Outsiders days, who had recorded and released some material by Bailey and Borland's electronically inclined side project, Second Layer. Budd's label, Tortch-R, made a small profit from a Second Layer release, so he opted to put it right back into the Sound's first release. Budd also became the band's manager, booking studio time for them with Nick Robbins in Elephant Studios and finding places for the band to gig. The WEA-affiliated Korova label (home of Echo & the Bunnymen) came knocking when they found out the band was going back into the studio to make a full album. Korova heard the rough mixes of the album and a deal was made. Jeopardy was recorded cheaply, and upon its release was reviewed extremely favorably by all the important outlets. Reviews in the NME, Sounds, and Melody Maker gave it five stars. Rightfully likened to the Bunnymen, the Teardrop Explodes, and Joy Division in those reviews, one only needs to hear the weakest song from the record to realize that the Sound -- from the very beginning -- belonged in that high class.

Bi Marshall left the band and was replaced by Max Mayers (aka Colvin Mayers) before the Sound went in to work with master producer Hugh Jones, who had previously worked with the Teardrops and the Bunnymen, for the follow-up. From the Lion's Mouth took full advantage of the band's atmospheric, mind-bending capabilities by coating their songs -- accessible and economical as ever -- with richly layered productions that didn't hide the rock-solid foundation the songs were built on. Another round of positive reviews and another round of general indifference from the public ensued, though a cult following was festering. Korova became a little anxious with the band and wanted some hits. Surely, the next one would break them.

Working again with Nick Robbins, the band was pressured by the label to compromise and play the pop game, and shifted to WEA proper. The heat from the label and the climate it spawned resulted in All Fall Down, their least penetrable record by a couple brick walls. And WEA responded to the response with no promotion. A period of dormancy followed it involved a collective realization that the enthusiasm for making music and playing it, despite being a little drained from their experiences with WEA, had never really waned. Several major labels expressed interest in signing them, but in the end Statik won out; the band decided it would be better to go with the small independent (an understandible mistake).

Shock of Daylight, a six-song EP, was released in 1984. The time off served them well, resulting in some of the band's most fiery and uplifting material. This carried through to the following year's glassy/classy Heads and Hearts, the band's fourth studio album. Two dates at the Marquee during August were recorded for the double live album In the Hothouse, which was released in 1986. For their final album, 1987's Thunder Up, the band allowed the darkness from All Fall Down and the shivering, plaintive desolation of Shock of Daylight's "Winter" to creep back in. Few were still paying attention, but the Sound released a swan song that most of the members considered to be their finest work, with plenty of variety that hangs together. Nearly a decade of empty wallets and minor personality clashes had eroded the band's resilience, so the band decided to stop shortly after its release....


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An assured, relatively loose follow-up to the fraught and frayed Jeopardy, From the Lion's Mouth entrenched the Sound's stature as no mere flash in the pan. It should have shot them directly between spots occupied by the like-minded Joy Division and Echo & the Bunnymen as post-punk legends, but the Fates had something else in mind, and so the quartet took their place right next to touring mates the Comsat Angels in the section marked "Deserved Better.
From The Lions Mouth is a peak sophomore achievement. The Sound's blend of angular guitars, throbbing bass and mimimalist keyboard fills, combined with the late Adrian Borland's intense, emotive vocals created a "sound" that was quite unorthodox yet exciting and intoxicating, particularly for the year 1981. A great album to point to whenever some misguided fool tries to dismiss all 80's music as slick, commercial trash. From the stunning opener "Winning" to the closing, anti-Thatcher-era rant "New Dark Age", this album is simply incredible for its time. That said, sales were dismal. Possibly because the album was too unique. It didn't fit neatly into any of the synth pop/new wave/new romantic stuff that was popular in '81. Nor did it have the bombast that would make Echo & the Bunnymen, U2 and Simple Minds so popular. The Brits were just too stuck up for this emo that came decades early, subsequently there was no push into the States all that remained was being highly esteemed and successful in the low countries and Germany.



The Sound - From The Lions Mouth (81 97mb)

01 Winning 4:16
02 Sense Of Purpose 3:50
03 Contact The Fact 4:21
04 Skeletons 3:26
05 Judgement 5:26
06 Fatal Flaw 4:34
07 Possession 3:25
08 The Fire 2:49
09 Silent Air 4:10
10 New Dark Age 5:54

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On Sessions the Sound blasts through a couple of studioperformances that showcase tracks from stand-out albums Jeopardy and From the Lions Mouth. Everything sounds wonderfully raw, forever hinting at being dangerously close to spilling over without ever actually doing so - even when shards of guitar fiercely explode across a track, dragging (and I could almost choose anything here) “Heartland” and “Jeopardy” into stratospheres of greatness. Where I believe they are still orbiting. The closer, “New Dark Age”, is a brooding epic of a track; towering drumming, pseudo-apocalyptic vocals and a jagged guitar line that suggests the end times may be greeting us sooner than we think.




The Sound - Sessions (The BBC Recordings) (81 75mb)

1. Heartland (3:17)
2. Unwritten Law (3:40)
3. Jeopardy (3:51)
4. I Can't Escape Myself (3:50)
5. Fatal Flaw (4:30)
6. Skeletons (3:27)
7. Hothouse (3:56)
8. New Dark Age (5:24)

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There’s a certain degree of repetition here as the first show covers similar ground to the ‘sessions’ disc. However, this matters less than it might due to the suitably different live setting and the continued excellence of performance from all concerned. The lively “Winning” appears as a handy reminder that The Sound were by no means perpetually bleak; a declaration that brightness can always be reached beyond the shadows. Frontman Adrian Borland is in outstanding vocal form; expressing restraint where necessary, but equally inclined to let fly with a passionate, tormented ire that acts as the perfect mirror for his expressive guitar work. This disquiet becomes increasingly noticeable on the concluding segment of live tracks, taken from a much later performance in 1985. As Sound drummer Mike Dudley states in the sleeve notes ‘It’s not a comfortable listen’. When “Burning Part of Me” is introduced as ‘.. a song about the only real way out,’ it delivers a chill.especially in view of Borland’s tragic suicide.



The Sound - In Concert (The BBC Recordings) (81,85 152mb)

01. Pete Drummond Intro (0:34)
02. Unwritten Law (3:37)
03. Skeletons (3:47)
04. Fatal Flaw (4:21)
05. Winning (4:10)
06. Sense of Purpose (3:30)
07. Heartland (3:24)
08. New Dark Age (5:56)
09. Pete Drummond Intro (3:55)
10. Golden Soldiers (3:36)
11. Under You (4:47)
12. Total Recall (4:41)
13. Burning Part of Me (3:31)
14. Whirlpool (4:00)
15. Missiles (7:52)

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4 comments:

EQ said...

Très grand groupe, effectivement trop méconnu; merci d'en parler! Le live est très bon. Et félicitations pour le blog en général, toujours d'excellent goût.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rho

Not a re-upload request ... but you don't happen to have The Sound's 'Jeopardy' do you?

Cheers

Rho said...

Of cause i have that album (for 37 years and signed by the band) I suppose it will come up later under the Aetix flag

Anonymous said...

hello

Can you please re-up The Sound?

Many thanks