Sound — 9
'Sound Affects' was The Jam's fifth album, and it was by far the most adventurous, challenging album. They had grown from the new wave sons of the home counties to just about the biggest pop group in the country. After getting their first no. 1, 'Going Underground', The Jam responded by recording an album which shunned the polished production of their previous album 'Setting Sons', for a more contemporary, atonal sound which reflected the gritty, sparse feel of post-punk. However, there were three songs on the album that harked back to old school Jam. They were the opening track 'Pretty Green', 'But I'm Different Now' and 'Boy About Town'. 'Pretty Green', the opening track, began with a thundering one-note bass-line, a perfect start to the album. The abrasive 'But I'm Different Now' was built upon the guitar riff reminiscent of another Revolver song, Dr. Robert. Less angular was the jolly 'Boy About Town', this vibrant Mod anthem was backed by a horn section. Much of the album was created in situ, which led to its broader range of musical moods and colourings. The result of these experiments could be heard on the intense 'Set The House Ablaze', 'Music For The Last Couple' and 'Scrape Away'. Meanwhile, the acoustic song 'That's Entertainment', used more direct language to create what is still Paul Weller's most vivid snapshot of English life. And finally, the only no.1 in the album, 'Start!' contained a smooth bass-line. The album reached no.2 in the album charts, it could've got no.1 if it wasn't for Abba's album. It also sold over 100, 000 copies.
Lyrics — 10
Just as soon The Jam became a pop group, Paul Weller has improved magnificently. His songwriting has improved, also his singing skills have improved over the years. He couldn't get any better than this.
Overall Impression — 9
Despite the album was successful, I don't think it was their best album. Okay, it was their best in the '80s. If you include all of their albums they have done, 'Sound Affects' was probably their 2nd best album. I prefer 'All Mod Cons' even though The Jam were still a punk group at that time. The most impressive songs on the album are 'Pretty Green', 'Start!' and 'That's Entertainment'. What I love about this album was that it showed The Jam have improved over the years, transforming into a pop group was a success. I don't hate anything about this album. If it somehow got stolen or lost (I doubt that will happen), I would certainly get it again. To end this review, 'Sound Affects' is a sensational album.