Posted 20 hours ago

Sound Affects

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Taking creative direction from a wide sphere of influences – The Who, Dr Feelgood, The Kinks and Motown to name a few, they achieved 18 consecutive Top 40 singles in the UK (including 4 number 1s) - they had a fanatical following, their singles entering straight in the top 10, or number 1 in some cases. The funny thing is that a more common complaint about "gz vinyl", and I've seen it on-line myself, are inner sleeves that are too loose and that tend to buckle when you insert the record into the outer sleeve. I personally don't agree - I don't think there's all that much between any of the final four Jam LPs. The cover art is a pastiche of the artwork used on various Sound Effects records produced by the BBC during the 1970s. While I enjoyed many tracks on that album as well, I still find `Sound Affects' to be the most consistent album.

Sound Affects' is filled with so many great songs: `Set The House Ablaze' has a great whistle-hook, `Monday' has an attractive melancholy melody, `Scrape Away' is a strong and hook-filled album closer. Set the House Ablaze is even better than that, a terrifying but terrific look at fascism on the rise in Europe at the dawn of the 80s. The back cover of the album features an excerpt from Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem The Masque of Anarchy. The album followed the band’s first number one single – Going Underground and features the group’s second UK number one single, Start! Weller's voice is in great form, but here the anguish and the anger sit closer together and in my humble opinion show a more mature and majestic depth to one of the great English bands of all time.

If you're not familiar with "Sound Affects", if it is before your time, then you simply have not fully discovered rock 'n roll. If That’s Entertainment doesn’t move you on some level you deserve to have your speakers burnt in front of you. Buckler's drumming suddenly has a ferocity that I never noticed before in a dozen previous versions of this record. This 2010 deluxe edition is a good release - my personal feeling is that with a bit more effort, Polydor/Universal could and should have made this an absolute killer release. It may just be a list of simple things we’ve all done, seen or heard, with an ironic chorus, acoustic guitars and no drums, but so what?

While I believe these stories, there's always a bad apple in the bunch, consider the adage of "bad news travels fast" - especially in this age of the internet. Sounds worthy in print, but marry talk of fighting fascists with a dangerous, paranoid guitar scrape and a whistled melody full of menace and the result is utterly thrilling. Weller's Rickenbacker is just crackling with treble - this is not guitar-playing as much as the buzz of a chainsaw! The 80 Greatest Albums of 1980 What came out of all this was, arguably, the greatest year for great albums ever". The distinctive cover art is a pastiche of the artwork used on various BBC sound effects records of the 1970s, incorporating ‘pop-art’ imagery.As an audiophile, the first thing I have to say about this package is that the remastering has to be one of the best I've ever heard. BirdsEye fish fingers, Heinz baked beans and chips (from the chip pan, slightly overdone), accompanied by a mug of tea and served on a wobbly wooden coffee table to a backdrop of a Grundig Colour TV showing the end credits of "The Changes" (hence the pylon reference)? In their short career, along with the Sex Pistols, The Clash, and Buzzcocks, they influenced a generation with their music, style, politics and inspiration. Noted musical influences on Sound Affects include post-punk groups such as Wire, Gang of Four, and Joy Division and, particularly evident in Rick Buckler's drumming, Michael Jackson's Off the Wall.

It’s regarded by critics and fans (as well as Weller) as their most adventurous and experimental collection of material, drawing musical influences from the ‘post-punk’ groups of the late-70s - Wire, Gang Of Four and Joy Division as well as neo-psychedelic touches from The Beatles and The Zombies etc. Based on a compilation I purchased, I avoided the early punk albums and started with the `Setting Sons' album.I am unfamiliar with any previous release that may have been remastered by him but if this is the kind of quality that comes as a result, Universal mastering should hire him to remaster the entire back catalog of the Siouxsie and the Banshees botched remasters. It doesn't quite hit the highs of Setting Sons (Burning Sky, Thick as Thieves, Smithers-Jones) or The Gift (Ghosts, Precious) BUT, it is probably their most consistent LP since All Mod Cons. So many good songs here, this for me is the Jam in full flight, full of ideas, full of vitality and mile stone melodies that worm there way deep into your psyche.

In the United States, the album spent 11 weeks on the Billboard 200 chart and reached its peak position of number 72 in February 1981. is built around an almost exact copy of the bassline from the Beatles' " Taxman", the first track on Revolver, and includes a homage to its guitar solo.

Pardoning the overly snug inner sleeve, and the creased cover (which I knew about before-hand), this is a masterpiece. I've read stories of crackly, skipping, dust-ridden, fingerprint-ridden slabs of junk leaving this pressing plant. At the time of its release, he said that he considered the album a cross between Off the Wall and Revolver. Not only are all the dynamics fully retained in this wonderful new remaster, but there has been a careful amount of re-equalization to correct from the midrange-heavy remaster from 2000. Of the countless songs about working class British life released in the last three decades, it’s strange one so ostensibly slight is so breathtaking.

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