Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Classic Album Review: The Jam - Sound Affects (1980)

Positively dripping with social commentary, awash with gripping guitar riffs, and glued together by a distinctive and unmistakable rhythm pairing, Sound Affects is THE must-have Jam studio album.

Repeated listening over the years has done little to dampen my enthusiasm for it, and neither has its impact been diluted in any way by overly regular exposure. It never fails to take me back to a happy yet not-so-shiny place.

It is often hard to believe that The Jam was a mere three-piece affair, such was the racket the band was able to create when firing on all cylinders. Most of the songs are short, sharp, and to the point, but always cleverly worded and thrillingly constructed.

I’m tempted to say Sound Affects was ahead of its time but I won’t, because clearly, this album more than any of the others in the band’s all too short discography, was very much of its time. Quite aside from being a brilliant rock n roll record, it captures the spirit of post-1979 working class England quite unlike anything else.

Sound Affects contains arguably Paul Weller’s finest ever moment with ‘That’s Entertainment’, while other highlights include the opener, ‘Pretty Green’, the fantastic single, ‘Start!’, plus ‘Monday’, ‘Set The House Ablaze’, ‘But I’m Different Now’, and ‘Man In The Corner Shop’ … there’s not much filler to be found here.

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