The Sound - Jeopardy (1980)

Posted by Amelia Swhizzagers On 1:40 AM

Despite the production's rough edges, the limited budget that fostered it, and the feeling that it sounds more like several A-sides and a couple decent B-sides thrown together than a singular body, Jeopardy is a caustic jolt of a debut that startles and fascinates. With the plaintive intro of the rhythm section, a spidery guitar, and incidental synth wobbles (which all sounds surprisingly Neu!-like), "I Can't Escape Myself" begins the album unassumingly enough until reaching the terse, one-line chorus that echoes the title of the song; suddenly, from out of the blue, all the instruments make a quick, violent, collective stab and retreat back into the following verse as singer Adrian Borland catches his breath. The reverb placed on his voice is heightened at just the right moments to exacerbate the song's claustrophobic slant. The ecstatic onward rush of "Heartland" forms the back end of a dynamic one-two opening punch, with a charging rhythm and blaring keyboards leading the way. It seems to be the spawn of XTC and U2, just as giddy as something from the former (think Go 2) and almost as anthemic as something from the latter (think Boy). Much later on, near the end, "Unwritten Law" comes along as one of the Sound's best mid-tempo mood pieces -- one of their greatest strengths. It also shows how much a simple shading of synth can affect a song, as it affects it with a melancholic smear that no other instrument could possibly provide. In all honesty, they weren't breaking any new ground here. Their influences were just as apparent as the ones donned by the other bands who inhabited similar post-punk territory. Smart journalists of the time -- meaning the ones who truly listened and were aware of the band's past -- knew well enough that the Sound belonged in the same league as the bands they were compared to and not somewhere in the bushes. Hardly coattail jockeying, the Sound were developing and growing alongside them. If you're thinking this sounds like someone's telling you that you need Jeopardy just as much as you need Kilimanjaro or Unknown Pleasures or Crocodiles, you're right again.
Tracks
1 I Can't Escape Myself 3:54
2 Heartland 3:33
3 Hour of Need 3:01
4 Words Fail Me 2:57
5 Missiles 5:26
6 Heyday 3:01
7 Jeopardy 3:37
8 Night Versus Day 3:15
9 Resistance 2:47
10 Unwritten Law 3:39
11 Desire 3:13
12 Heartland (live)
13 Brute Force (live)
14 Jeopardy (live)
15 Coldbeat (live)
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