I could have sworn the first place I heard The Sound was on the TV or more accurately, on my phone as I watched episodes of downloaded TV on my way to work, don’t @ me) and I assumed that the show was Deadly Class – the one-season comic-book adaptation of an assassin’s school boasting an excellent soundtrack of ’80s post-punk and hip-hop. A little research showed this was not true – they were never featured on the show – and a little more research found that the show that introduced me to Adrian Borland’s criminally under-appreciated ’80s outfit was… The Young Pope, episode seven. So almost the same thing.
The Sound are one of the bands that made me want to re-start a blog in the first place, mostly out of the hubris of thinking, “A band this good should not be so unknown! I must correct this!” but the fact is they’re not actually unknown. Their 1980 debut Jeopardy and the 1981 follow-up From The Lion’s Mouth are fixtures on “essential post-punk album” lists and command hefty prices on Discogs (I know because I paid hefty prices for both), their complete catalog has been collected in two box sets, and late frontman Adrian Borland was the subject of a documentary film Walking In The Opposite Direction in 2016, detailing his battle with depression and ultimately his suicide.
It’s just that their records – not inaccurately but insufficiently described as a cross between Joy Division and Echo & The Bunnymen – are so good, they deserve to be known beyond an audience of genre devotees. Their best material is as rousing and anthemic and heartfelt – yet still deliciously anxious and tense – as anything their peers of the era put out.
I dunno man, it’s just great stuff and was a hell of a thing to take away from a Jude Law television show.
Here’s some further reading – and listening – on the band. The Line Of Best Fit cherry picked some of the best moments of their career on the occasion of the box set releases in 2015 as an introduction to the band:
In 2016 The Guardian pondered why the band failed to break through to wider success:
Last Fall, Post-Punk.com paid tribute to the band’s astonishing debut and in April 2019, marked the 20th anniversary of Borland’s passing.
BrooklynVegan put together a retrospective piece on the band last year when the Borland documentary made its way to streaming on Vimeo, where it remains available to rent.
And New Zealand’s Under The Radar talked to original drummer Mike Dudley about his new The Sound Revisited project, which is bringing Borland’s songs back to the stage.