The Sound, live on The Old Grey Whistle Test – July 1982

The Sound, live on <em>The Old Grey Whistle Test</em> – July 1982

Like many of their post-punk contemporaries who were not Joy Division, Echo & The Bunnymen or The Cure, if The Sound were to be described with one adjective, it would be underappreciated. They released five albums from 1980 to 1987, the first three of which – Jeopardy, From The Lion’s Mouth, and All Fall Down – I rate as superb, but only 1987’s Heads & Hearts disturbed the charts in the slightest. And unlike a lot of their peers, I haven’t seen them getting much in the way of a critical reassessment decades later, possibly because frontman Adrian Borland died of suicide in 1999 and there’s been no one to further champion their cause.

Actually that’s not entirely true. A 2016 documentary about Borland’s life – Walking In The Opposite Direction – was released, though how one would go about seeing it without attending an in-person screening is unclear to me. A book – Destiny Stopped Screaming, by Simon Heavisides – is apparently incoming or already exists, though I can’t find any more information about that.

I’ve seen new pressings of both Jeopardy and From The Lion’s Mouth in stores, but it’s not clear to me who produced them or what their quality is; the last official releases of either date back to 2012, and I don’t think these copies were new old stock. I’m happy to have ponied up for the original pressings, thanks. British label Demon Records has done a commendable job of keeping the Statik Records releases in print, and this year they released a new archival release, New Way Of Life, that collected early demo recordings that had previously only been available in a 2015 box set. They also released all the aforementioned Statik releases as The Statik Record Years box set. Further, a couple years ago Dutch label Sounds Haarlem Likes Vinyl put out Will and Testament, a compilation of live tracks. In other words, a fanbase with money to spend still exists. But I’ll be damned if I’ve seen anyone anywhere talk about the band or these releases; I only become aware of them when I cruise past their page on streaming services and see something I haven’t seen before.

So for my part, I’ll continue to share bits and pieces of their meagre video library; this is probably one of the best finds, a two-song set from their 1982 appearance on The Old Grey Whistle Test, where they performed a couple songs from Lion’s Mouth.

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