Sound Jeopardy

The Sound were an English band and contemporaries of Joy Division – the Sound’s first release, Jeopardy, came out a year after the Joy Division debut, Unknown Pleasures — who never quite hit the big time despite almost uniformly positive reviews of their first couple of albums.  It’s hard to see why they didn’t make it; Jeopardy, is packed with powerful post-punk and new-wave.  The Sound have all the economical drive and visceral smack of early, chugging Joy Division tracks like “Disorder” (check out that live version, the punch is unbelievable) or “Warsaw.”  “Words Fail Me” rushes into a slamming pop hook that incorporates an instrument Joy Division would never mess around with: a saxophone.  The album’s title track has more darkness and sharper angles than “Words Fail Me,” but it still drops a synthesizer riff on the chorus that wouldn’t be out of place on a Blondie record, or an early Prince album.  While they don’t stretch out sound in the same way, The Sound touch on a lot of Joy Division’s themes – threat, troubles with the self – without descending to the same level of overwhelming bleakness.  While Joy Division singer Ian Curtis shows the power of that bleakness, it’s not something you want to tangle with too often.  It’s easy to come back to Jeopardy

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