The Sound

The Sound

The Sound had its heyday in the early 80’s, but I still have a weak spot for this band. Their songs sound just as passionate and convincing as they did when I first heard them. The songwriter and singer of this band was Adrian Borland. His first musical efforts were with the punk band The Outsiders, that made a few self-released records. He also recorded a n album as Second Layer, with more electronic elements. But things really started when the name was changed to The Sound. Energetic rock fused with melancholic wave, combined with the personal lyrics of Borland caused a very passionate sound.

The debut album “Jeopardy” in 1980 attracted a lot of attention, with the powerful single ‘Heyday’ and the classic song ‘Missiles’, a soundtrack to the anti-nuclear mood of that time. The Sound also did a successful tour with label mates Echo & the Bunnymen. But the real highlight followed a year later with their magnum opus “From the Lion’s Mouth”, an incredibly dense and emotional album. These first two albums got splendid critical acclaim and sold reasonably well, though The Sound never achieved a really popular status, unlike contemporaries like U2 and The Simple Minds.

The next album, “All fall down”, showed more electronic experiments and was less accessible. According to the press this is their weakest release, though according to me it contains some of their strongest songs, like ‘Monument’ and ‘Party of the Mind’. The other Sound albums, “Heads and hearts” and “Thunder up”, the mini LP ‘Shock of Daylight’ and the live album “In the Hothouse”, consolidated their status, but didn’t bring them many new fans. This did not do much good to the depressive nature of Adrian Borland, who developed psychic problems in the early 90’s. The Sound is often called the most underrated wave bands of the 80’s, which was enhanced by the fact that their music was hard to find. Luckily all their classic albums are being re-released on cd lately . Renascent released “Propaganda” in 1999, a Sound album with their earliest recordings which never saw the daylight before.

After the demise of The Sound, Adrian Borland pursued a solo career, with a handful of fine albums, first with backing band The Citizens, later by his own. Furthermore he did various collaborations, like White Rose Transmission and the fun project Honolulu Mountain Daffodils. Appreciated by connaisseurs, but again no large commercial success. For some reason Borland had the most fans in Holland, where he also lived for some time. In the meantime his depressive nature continued, which finally resulted in his suicide in April 1999.

Posthumous two albums of Adrian Borland appeared on the Dutch Red Sun Records label, which is doing a lot to preserve the legacy of many classic new wave acts. In 2000 “Last days of the rain machine” appeared, a collection of unreleased acoustic songs. In 2002 “Harmony & Destruction” was released, the album Borland was working on at the time of his death. This album will not bring him a lot of new fans, but it is a convincing proof of his talent. Perhaps more Adrian Borland or The Sound recordings will surface, but I think that “Harmony & destruction” can be regarded as his testament, a worthy document.


  • Jeopardy (Korova, 1980)
  • From the Lion’s Mouth (Korova, 1981)
  • All Fall Down (WEA, 1982)
  • Shock of Daylight (Statik, 1984)
  • Heads and Hearts (Statik, 1985)
  • In the Hothouse (Statik, 1985)
  • Thunder up (Pias, 1987)
  • Propaganda (Renascent, 1999)

Adrian Borland solo:

  • Alexandria (BIAS, 1989)
  • Brittle Heaven (BIAS, 1992)
  • Beautiful Ammonition (Resolve Records, 1994)
  • Cinematic (Resolve Records, 1995)
  • 5:00 AM (Earth Records, 1997)
  • The last Days of the Rainmachine (Red Sun, 2000)
  • Harmony and Destruction (Red Sun, 2002)