THE SOUND – JEOPARDY
Released: November 1980 – 35 years ago
At the vanguard of the UK post-punk scene with Joy Division and Echo & The Bunnymen, the Sound’s studio debut is one of the most criminally overlooked albums of the early 80s. This despite receiving glowing reviews by many critics of the time and over the years. Dripping with reverb and hooks, Jeopardy is a must-listen for fans of early post-punk that gets better with each spin.
The Classic Pick is a weekly feature at 4pm M-F on The Home Stretch, sponsored by the Good Oak Bar and curated by Kris Kerry. Each Monday at 4pm Kris stops by KXCI’s studio to give us insight on this classic album at 91.3FM and kxci.org.
It is hard to mention The Sound without also mentioning Joy Division and Echo & The Bunnymen. It is equally hard to explain why The Sound, who were contemporaries of and stylistically falling somewhere between the two bands, didn’t enjoy more success. Indeed, all three band’s debuts were released within 18 months of each other (Joy Divisons’ Unknown Pleasures in summer of 1979 and E&TB’s Crocodiles in summer of 1980). Also, initially they played many of the same venues and shared a label with Echo and The Bunnymen (Korova Records). If fact The Sound may have had more going for them with regard to geography in that they were based in South London, while Joy Division was based in Manchester and Echo & The Bunnymen in Liverpool. But for whatever reason The Sound never did sell as many records as the other two bands. In fact, all of The Sound’s five studio releases were only available as imports in the US until a few years ago.
Jeopardy and its follow-up album, From the Lion’s Mouth, were not given the recognition they deserved, although they received praise from many critics. They have been called one of the finest bands of the 1980s and have garnered rave reviews from numerous publications, including Melody Maker, NME, Pop Matters, Trouser Press, The Big Takover, and Uncut.
Jeopardy was recorded inexpensively at Elephant Studio in London, and was produced by The Sound themselves with Nick Robbins listed as co-producer. Robbins has worked on a ton of albums as an engineer and producer, most notably The Pogues, Small Faces, Loudon Wainwright III, and My Bloody Valentine.
The Sound was formed out of the ashes of another South London act called The Outsiders. Both bands were led by the vocalist/songwriter/lead guitarist, Adrian Borland, was the heart and soul of The Sound. Graham Green, who had played bass in The Outsiders, also joined the new project. The addition of Michael Dudley on drums and keyboardist, Bi Marshall, completed the initial line-up. There were some line-up changes over the course of the bands live, but Borland was always the driving force behind the project.
While Borland released some other solo albums and produced a handful of other albums, he never received any real recognition for his work with The Sound. Borland took his life in 1999. The other band members left music for the most part after the band’s demise in the late 80s.