The Sound was a remarkable band with a message, perfectly delivered with a driven and purposeful style. The original lineup of The Sound consisted of Adrian Borland (vocals, guitar), Graham Bailey (bass), Mike Dudley (drums) and Benita “Bi” Marshall (keyboards, saxophone, clarinet). In 1979, the band produced their first album called Jeopardy, which garnered critical success.
Their second album, From the Lions Mouth, also received accolades from the music industry, but did not bring the band commercial success. Korova, The Sound’s record label at the time, pressured Borland and company to create something more commercially appealing. Basically, the band’s response was to tell the record company to go stuff it, and instead they recorded All Fall Down, an album with a decidedly non-mainstream bent.
In 1981, The Sound toured with contemporaries (and also underrated) Comsat Angels. Further extensive touring brought The Sound their greatest success in the Netherlands, and also their most devoted following. They performed the single “Sense Of Purpose” on the TV show Old Grey Whistle Test, and also made a couple of stops in the US.
After All Fall Down, The Sound parted company with Korova and sought out another record label. In 1984, they signed with Statik, an independent outfit. In 1985, The Sound released an EP, Shock of Daylight, and an album Heads and Hearts. Also that year, Borland began to show signs of mental illness thought to be brought on by the stresses he and the band had suffered. While touring in Spain in 1987, The Sound had to cancel several appearances when Borland had a complete breakdown. In early 1988, the band made the difficult decision to split up.
For about a decade after the break-up, Borland somehow maintained a solo career. Never really cured of his depression, he committed suicide on April 26th, 1999, by throwing himself under a train at Wimbledon station.
Further supporting my conclusion that this band was criminally underrated are these quotes from voices in the music industry:
“The Sound were tragically overlooked in their time and have remained unjustly neglected since.” ~ Sun Records Music Store
“It’s hard to understand why this London quartet never found commercial success. At their best, the Sound’s excellent neo-pop bears favorable comparison to the Psychedelic Furs and Echo & the Bunnymen.” ~ Trouser Press
“The Sound? Just one of the finest bands of the 1980s.” ~ Jack Rabid of Big Takeover magazine
“I Can’t Escape Myself” via YouTube user godisatan:
“Sense of Purpose”via YouTube user petsounds19:
“The Unwritten Law” via YouTube user mozportugal:
Propaganda (1979, Reissued by Renascent) – Available for Purchase
In The Hothouse (live 1985, Reissued by Renascent) – Available for Purchase
Jeopardy (Korova, 1980) – Out of Print
From the Lions Mouth (Korova, 1981) Out of Print
All Fall Down (Warner Bros. [WEA], 1982) Available as Import
Heads and Hearts (Statik, 1985) Out of Print
Thunder Up (PIAS, 1987) Available as Import