That it has been almost a full month since the previous entry in this series will perhaps give you an idea of how difficult it has been to do this post.
James had finally captured the hearts and minds of music fans in the UK and indeed across much of Europe. All those years of blood, sweat and toil and what had been Manchester’s greatest secret was out there in the open. All that was needed now was a poptastic sing-a-long single at the end of 1991 to provide a perfect preview for the new hugely anticipated LP that was due out in the early months of 92.
But if you’ve been following this series, you’ll know that with James, it’s usually always a tale of the totally unexpected with a twist nobody anticipated. The release of Sound in November 1991 was certainly that.
Listening to it now still fills me with horror. Yup, releasing a six-minute single with no discernible chorus can be seen as brave….but it only works if the music can hold the listener’s attention which sadly in this case it did not. There are some who thought it was evidence of an inevitable drift into stadium rock thanks to the size of arenas that the band could now sell out in a matter of minutes but quite frankly it is just not bombastic enough to fall into that category. It sounds to me like a band who were confused about what to do next and the results were a messy mix of a record having big contributions from everyone with no overall sense of control.
Released on 7″, 12″, cassette single and CD single. Sound did reach the Top 10 in the UK but only for one week before dropping like a stone. This was one bought by fans only and not, as with the re-released Sit Down, by casual listeners attracted by the vibrant pop blaring from their radios.
Thankfully, everyone concerned didn’t release all sorts of different b-sides on the different versions – buying either the 12″ or CD would get you everything:-
mp3 : James – Sound (7″ version)
mp3 : James – All My Sons
mp3 : James – Come Home (Youth Pressure Dub)
mp3 : James – Sound (full length)
All My Sons appears to have been included as the antidote to the single, clocking in at under two minutes. Dating back to the early 90s, it was really an outake from the Goldmother era….but worryingly boring. Oh and it was also disappointing to get yet another remix of Come Home……..