The Sound – Jeopardy (1980)

Luc Ramshaw

Music Business Student at Bristol University, aged 19

Having never listened to The Sound before I was unsure of what to expect. My first impressions from the first track were positive, I enjoyed the experimental sounding synth in the intro to the heavy chorus it sounded very raw and not generic. The lead singer’s voice reminded me of Matt Johnson from ‘The The’. ‘I can’t escape myself’ is littered with eerie sounds that build up effectively into the punchy chorus which is perfected with Adrian Borland’s powerful voice, I felt the emotion in his voice during the chorus which built onto the raw sound of the track.

I was less impressed with the second and third tracks which felt very generic and had no notable features to them. ‘Worlds Fail Me’ on the other hand, has a catchy intro and an amazing guitar riff which sets it far apart from the 2nd and 3rd track that lack the pace and excitement that ‘Words Fail Me’ provides. ‘Missiles’ has a very distinct bassline which carries the track, I enjoyed the progression in this track, it built up very well and didn’t disappoint on the chorus.

The album doesn’t sound dated at all, despite it being released in 1980 it resembles similar indie albums of the late 2000’s and definitely serves as a classic. The one other song which stood out to me was ‘Resistance’ I thought the lyrics were powerful on this song and I found myself paying attention to the words and meaning opposed to just the melody, not to say the melody isn’t powerful too, because it is. 

Brilliant album, I thoroughly enjoyed it and will without a doubt listen to it again! 9/10

Stephen Budd

Music Industry Executive, aged 65

The Sound released their debut EP Physical World in 1979 on manager Stephen Budd‘s Tortch label. Recorded soon after their first gig in Kingston’s own Kaleidoscope Club, it was favourably received by NME and received airplay from BBC legend John Peel.

Budd went onto finance and initiate recording their first full length LP “Jeopardy” intended for release on his label but subsequently entered into a deal with Korova Records, a Warner Brothers ‘Indie Subsidiary” and home to Echo & the Bunnymen. Released in November 1980 to critical acclaim; it received 5-star reviews from the three major music publications, NME, Sounds and Melody Maker.

For anyone interested in how punk got to be post punk got to be new wave got to be ’80s synth pop, Jeopardy is a critical piece of the puzzle. Nestled in that space before what has become the signature ’80s Euro sound was a full-on exploding moment which this album encapsulates.

The Sound find musical cousins in the Cure, the Fall, the Gang of Four, Joy Division, and the Psychedelic Furs. 

Jeopardy  bursts with fresh energy while also maintaining a startling maturity and skill. These are songs that haunt, blaze, rip, and govern, sometimes within the same moment. Oh, their elements: the guitars twitch like an itchy trigger finger, the vocals teem with fury and fire, the bass like a controlled nuclear reaction, keyboards always at the perfect colour, whether dark or luminescent. 

Despite the production’s rough edges, the limited budget that fostered it, and the feeling that it sounds more like several A-sides and a couple decent B-sides thrown together than a singular body, Jeopardy is a caustic jolt of a debut that startles and fascinates. With the plaintive intro of the rhythm section, a spidery guitar, and incidental synth wobbles.

Despite several more albums,  successful tours in UK, USA and across Europe the band never got the recognition they deserved until fairly recently.

Leader Adrian Borland committed suicide on 26 April 1999 and since then, several books, a film documentary and tribute bands have all paid homage to this ‘great lost group’ who originated in Wimbledon and Kingston in the very late 1970’s and disbanded in the mid 1980’s.

Kingston link:

The Sound traced their origins to Wimbledon and Kingston and played a number of venues locally, including the Surbiton Assembly Rooms.

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