Sound Affects review by The Jam

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  • Released: Nov 28, 1980
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 6.8 (6 votes)
The Jam: Sound Affects

Sound — 9
This album sees the Jam resort to a harsher and more basic sound than their previous albums with Bruce Foxton's bass and Rick Buckler's drums taking centre stage leaving Paul Weller free to contribute spaced out chords. Overall all three musicians meld together and all the songs have a harsh and almost psychedelic effect caused by this and Weller's sometimes eerie vocal. This is no accident as Weller wanted to escpae the poliished sound or previous albums and had been listening to the work of Syd Barrett and the Beatles Revolver album while writing Sound Affects. They even pay tribute to Revolver on the song Start where they borrow the Taxman bassline.

Lyrics — 9
Like most Jam albums Sound Affects contains elements of British working class life. From Preety Green which claims that in modern Britain power is measured by the "pound or the fist" to the brilliant "scrape away" which tells the story of how people are willing to merely "scrape away through life without making any contribution this album is an expression of modern life and expresses the anger assocciated with such a life. The centrepiece of this attitude is of course "that's entertainment" which is simply a series of images of modern life backed only by a simple piece of acoustic guitar. However Weller also tells tales of love "Monday" and "But I'm different now" and lost ambition "Set the House a Blaze". This is simply a clasic collection of songs whether discussing the spanish civil war, "start" or wandering the streets of London, "Boy about Town".

Overall Impression — 10
This is easily one of my favourite albums and I heartily reccomend it, although if you're new to The Jam you should probably start with All Mod Cons their third album. Rarely can you find such a group of songs that fit together so perfectly while still each strikingly different. Fans of Joy Division will approve of the stripped down sound while anyone who has ever thought there is something wrong with life will find comfort here.

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