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The Sound

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The Sound formed in South London in 1979, shortly after a band called The Outsiders dissolved. It isn’t a very well-distributed fact, but the Outsiders’ 1977 LP Calling on Youth was the first self-released British punk LP, issued roughly four months after Buzzcocks’ infamous Spiral Scratch 7”. Guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Adrian Borland led the Outsiders through a couple of other releases, but the band sputtered out three years after their 1976 formation. Bassist Graham Bailey (aka Graham Green), who had joined the band in time for their final recordings, followed Borland into the new group with a drummer named Michael Dudley and a saxophonist/clarinetist/keyboardist named Bi Marshall.

Fittingly enough, Borland’s motivation to cut ties to the punk movement mirrored that of original Buzzcocks member Howard Devoto, who left his own band after Spiral Scratch. Like Devoto, who had gone on to pioneer yet another field called post-punk with Magazine, Borland looked around, saw all the bands who played straight-ahead chug-chug-chug rock & roll, and decided that the tired blueprint was in need of a little more depth and variation; atmospheres, tensions, and unfamiliar twists on the interplay between the instruments would be needed. Lyrics were another thing. Not content with simply railing against the government or grunting and yelping about trivial matters to merely keep a song moving, Borland became one of the few post-punk songwriters whose lyric sheets were truly worth ingesting and analyzing.

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