The Sound
Propaganda


4.5
superb

Review

by butcherboy CONTRIBUTOR (78 Reviews)
September 17th, 2017 | 43 replies


Release Date: 1979 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Galvanized by statik..

’80-’85 Part V

Even in the overwhelming glut of English post-punkers that had swept over airwaves and clubs in the 80’s, The Sound stood out as an eminent presence. Started by Adrian Borland, right as his maiden band, lean punks The Outsiders dissolved, The Sound carved a cult poise on the scene; a hard-working, highly prolific collective, who deployed their temperament and poetry where it mattered – in their arrangements and bombastic shows. Propaganda, their unofficial debut, recorded in 1979 and released for the first time in 1999, during their brief and unpretentious return to vogue, is a small combustible collection, standing for an unnoticed first step in Borland’s ascent up the critical ranks of one of post-punk's most noteworthy dignitaries.

Propaganda’s writing and recording overlapped with the disbandment of The Outsiders, and that conjunction is felt in the record’s wiry nature. Sharp, gaunt and inexhaustibly eager, Propaganda is more skeletal than The Sound’s proper debut Jeopardy, let alone the lush body of work that followed, and feels exactly as it should – a young theorist finding his voice.

The time Borland and The Outsiders had spent touring with Iggy Pop and some other garage-built American outfits, just as their split bulked large, is also apparent. Songs like “Deep Breath” and “Cost of Living” kick off on crazed riffing, but where similarly euphoric Jeopardy cuts like “Heyday” would parse that momentum into synth breaks and brass shrieks, here Borland allows the tunes to stay the punk path, soloing himself blind and letting the songs cruise on nothing else except that electric extravagance. It lends Propaganda a divisive quality. A tidy part of why The Sound managed to continue recording, despite never breaking from the underground, was due to Borland keeping a keen eye on post-punk’s unfolding and adjusting the band’s aesthetics accordingly. In that sense, Propaganda clashes with the rest of The Sound’s catalog, particularly with the richly textured, romantically gothic slants of Lion’s Mouth and beyond. In a mere two years, Borland’s musical ambitions had burgeoned rapidly, and by the time the 80’s came knocking, his arrangements all but abandoned their punk origins in favour of fractured grace.

That’s not to stay that Propaganda exists in a complete vacuum. Songs like “Missiles,” later to be reworked for Jeopardy, rhythm-drunk, sax-studded “One More Escape,” and the gorgeously patient, reverb-soaked “Statik” were the earliest signs of the sort of defiantly beatific melancholy that was flourishing in Borland’s mind.

Dissentious or not, it’s hard to deny Propaganda raw charm. Short, daring and unabashedly fiery, it sticks out its jaw and pushes forth with the kind of insolent, myopic snottiness that always made for great punk.

To those who fell in love with The Sound’s dysphoric exuberance, Propaganda likely represents little more than a modest beginning, an undercooked blip of etiology. But for this humble reviewer, it stands for something much more – atmosphere and mood that don’t hijack youthful impulsion, but rather prop it up; make it exquisite without snagging its rude heart. Post-punk in its perfect formation.



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user ratings (6)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
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Comments:Add a Comment 
butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
September 17th 2017


5307 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Unique's pick, though he definitely didn't like it as much as their later work, that synth theatre-loving bastard..

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Tyler.
September 17th 2017


13479 Comments


I've yet to listen to this

UniqueUniverse
September 17th 2017


6821 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

He's back and in colours.

Digging: Benjamin Clementine - I Tell A Fly

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
September 17th 2017


5307 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

3.5?! you fucking heathen



Tyler, you should change that..

UniqueUniverse
September 17th 2017


6821 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oi, it is a grower. I got hyped up for a Sound album I haven't heard before and was somewhat let down by its fairly straightforward and merely above-average state. It's a good album, but it isn't From the Lion's Mouth... or even Jeopardy.

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
September 17th 2017


5307 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

your mama's toe corns are a grower..

UniqueUniverse
September 17th 2017


6821 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

you seem to be keen on rating each of your reviews in this series 4.5... you one-cellad amoeba

SandwichBubble
September 17th 2017


4543 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I had no idea this album existed! I'M LEARNING

Digging: Anne-James Chaton / Thurston Moore / Andy Moor - Heretics

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
September 17th 2017


5307 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

two of the five so far are 4's.. the series is meant to be good forgotten albums of the early 80's..



Sandwich, it's a beaut!

UniqueUniverse
September 17th 2017


6821 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It is a beaut... in a way.

ScuroFantasma
Contributing Reviewer
September 17th 2017


10809 Comments


Nicely written as always Butcher (:

Digging: Rabor - ?????????

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
September 17th 2017


5307 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

cheers, Scuro!

Chortles
September 17th 2017


20742 Comments


jeopardy is fantastic - need to hear this! another welcome addition to the series butcha

Digging: DJ Rashad - Just A Taste

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
September 17th 2017


5307 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

if you liked jeopardy, i reckon this will please you, Chorts.. and thanks much..

Divaman
September 18th 2017


1391 Comments


Wow, only two ratings for this baby, too. Nice. You're a beacon of light in an otherwise dark universe, bb.

Digging: Looming - Seed

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
September 18th 2017


5307 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

hahaha, very kind, Diva..

UniqueUniverse
September 18th 2017


6821 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So am I the buffer then?

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
September 18th 2017


5307 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

fluffer

SandwichBubble
September 18th 2017


4543 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Gonna give this a listen today, Tubby Rec Ho

UniqueUniverse
September 18th 2017


6821 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Wh... wha....wha.. what? It's... growing? It's growing on me? What are those sudden feelings I'm feeling?



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