Friday, March 9, 2012

The Jam - Sound Affects Deluxe Edition

Unhappy with the slicker approach of Setting Sons, the Jam got back to basics, using the direct, economic playing of All Mod Cons and "Going Underground," the simply brilliant single that preceded Sound Affects by a few months. Thematically, though, Paul Weller explored a more indirect path, leaving behind (for the most part) the story-song narratives in favor of more abstract dealings in spirituality and perception -- the approach stemming from his recent readings of Blake and Shelley (who was quoted on the sleeve), but more specifically Geoffrey Ashe, whose Camelot and the Vision of Albion made a strong impression. Musically, Weller drew upon Revolver-era Beatles as a primary source (the bassline on "Start," which comes directly from "Taxman," being the most obvious occurrence), incorporating the occasional odd sound and echoed vocal, which implied psychedelia without succumbing to its excesses. From beginning to end, the songs are pure, clever, infectious pop -- probably their catchiest -- with "That's Entertainment" and the should-have-been-a-single "Man in the Corner Shop" standing out.

Universal’s 2010 Deluxe Edition of Sound Affects contains a remastered version of the original album on the first disc and a wealth of bonus material on the second disc, much of which is absent on the complete box Direction Reaction Creation. The bonus disc begins with the single version of “Start!” and runs through the B-sides “Liza Radley” and “Dreams of Children” before getting into a host of demos and alternate takes, stopping on the occasional oddity like the fan club flexi-disc “Pop Art Poem.” Much of this previously saw the light of day either on the rarities comp Extras or Direction Reaction Creation, but there are a few items making their debut here: a demo with overdubs of “Pretty Green,” a demo of “Boy About Town,” a previously unreleased instrumental of “Scrape Away,” a demo of “Start!,” an alternate “Monday,” an instrumental demo, a “dub ending” of “Set the House Ablaze,” and finally a demo of “Waterloo Sunset."

Listen: HERE

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