The JAM – ” Sound Effects ” Released 28th November in 1980

Posted: December 1, 2017 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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Sound Affects [VINYL]

On the 28th November in 1980: The Jam released their 5th studio album, ‘Sound Affects’, on Polydor Records…by Paul Weller, Bruce Foxton & Rick Buckler It featured the group’s second UK single, “Start!”; as well as other excellent Jam gems such as the funky “Pretty Green”, the raging “Set The House Ablaze”, ballad “That’s Entertainment” & the horn-driven “Boy About Town”; one side of the cover design was a pastiche of the artwork used on various sound effects records produced by the BBC during the ’70s; Paul Weller later cited it as his favourite Jam album in a BBC documentary; in 2006.

For many this album represents the musical zenith for The Jam. It is a fantastic album from start to finish in terms of the songwriting. The earlier Setting Sons has few brilliant anthemic tracks such as Thick as Thieves or The Eton Rifles and was intended as a concept album with the themes of friendship over time being the focal point but by Paul Weller’s own admission had a few fillers such as Girl on the Phone, Private Hell and the cover of Martha Reeves’ Heatwave. This album by contrast is a highly polished offering, perhaps a little too over produced at times and as such saw The Jam going in a new direction. Gone is the earlier raucousness and anger and the imperfect guitar playing and vocals which added something to the songs and at times made them seem rather like live tracks. Instead, this album has a veneer and a polish which firmly established The Jam as a post-punk band.

The Jam’s most consistent effort, ‘Sound Affects’ finds the trio splitting the difference between retro mod-pop (“Boy About Town,” the lovelorn “Monday,” jangly “Man in the Corner Shop”) and kicky power-punk (“But I’m Different Now” the herky-jerky “Start!”). Yet ‘Sound Affects’ also has a menacing tone—check the wary whistling on “Set the House Ablaze” and the record-closing, post-punk march “Scrape Away” a dark soundtrack suitable for stalking prey—that gives the music enduring depth. Plus, the LP contains one of the band’s finest moments, the nostalgic and bittersweet classic “That’s Entertainment.”

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Tellingly, when Paul Weller came to record 2010’s Mercury-nominated Wake Up The Nation, it was 1980s Sound Affects that his collaborator and producer Simon Dine held up as a model. Sound Affects was originally released at a time when The Jam was considered the biggest band in Britain. The album followed the band’s first number one single– “Going Underground” and features the group’s second UK number one single, “Start!”–a track built around almost exact copies of the bass-line and guitar solos from The Beatles’ “Taxman” (at the time Weller considered the album a cross between Off the Wall and Revolver). It includes many of the band’s classic songs: “That’s Entertainment” (written in a caravan in Selsey, after the pub), never released as a single in UK,”Man in the Corner Shop”, “Pretty Green”, the pure-pop of “Boy About Town” and “Dream Time”. 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.

The 30th anniversary two-disc, CD deluxe edition of the classic Jam album has been digitally re-mastered and features 22 bonus tracks, demos, b-sides and alternative versions. Also included is a 24-page booklet with extensive new sleevenotes by writer John Harris, a brand new interview with Paul Weller, rare photos and period memorabilia. The bonus material includes eight previously unreleased tracks: demos of “Pretty Green” and “Start!”, alternate versions of “Set the House Ablaze” and “Monday” and a cover of Kinks’ “Waterloo Sunset”, and two instrumental demos.

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