The Sound


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AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman

Released in 1999 by Renascent, Propaganda gathers 12 formative recordings that were laid down by the Sound in 1979, some of which would be re-tooled for official release later on. Technically speaking, it covers a period during which a band called the Outsiders -- who put out the first self-released punk LP in Britain in mid-1977 -- underwent some lineup changes and officially changed into a new band, with guitarist/singer Adrian Borland and bassist Graham Bailey carrying over from the initial band. The material found here was recorded in the Borland family home with Adrian's father, Bob, performing the engineering duties from a small room nearby. Borland and company's influences are apparent: the Stooges, MC5, and Roxy Music. Borland's vocal phrasing resembles Iggy Pop's streetwise cool in a more-than-apparent way, though his worlds-apart personality is introverted and restrained compared to Pop's unbridled exhibitionism. The presence of clarinet blurts is an obvious reference to early Roxy Music, and some of the careening, assaultive guitar licks from Borland himself resemble the unholy squall and torrential bomber FX channeling of MC5's Fred Smith and Wayne Kramer. Down the road, the Sound would become much better at incorporating their influences, blending and almost burying them. Regardless, this is just a rawer version of a Radio Birdman record with a little more stylistic range and more thoughtful lyrics (they are far from being an endless splatter of grunts and scratches), without the crazy pose; despite the fact that these people were just getting used to playing with each other, most everything sounds assured, tight, and nearly professional. What these songs suffer from in derivation is equaled in skill, quality, and enthusiasm. Any hardcore fan needs a copy. It's not for nothing that the bandmembers themselves regard this collection as their first true record.

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