As debut albums go and released at the time it was, it's hard to imagine how this one could be any better. 1977 was a period of conflicting musical styles. The impact of the 60s goliaths The Beatles and The Who could still be felt, there was the arrival of disco and the explosion of punk. This album is a great reflection of these uncertain musical times.
To hear the songs, you immediately think of punk. The angry twang of Weller's Rickenbacker and Foxton's pounding bass coupled with the angst in Weller's voice make the band stand out from the meaningless punk mediocrity that was around at the same time. However, a deeper study will reveal much more complexity. How many punk groups sang about wanting to be away from the numbers, non-stop dancing and had songs with love in the title? No, The Jam were, even here at this early stage, so much more than a punk band. Visually the band in their black suits are a throwback to the early Beatles and Who era. Sounds From The Street was Weller's answer to the American beach craze spearheaded by The Beach Boys, Non-Stop Dancing makes reference to James Brown and the soul music which was to influence Weller so much in his career, Slow Down is a Larry Williams Rythym and Blues cover whilst In The City, a title borrowed from The Who's "A Quick One" album and the Batman Theme which again appears on the same Who album clearly show Weller's mod influences. Running through the album however is the beginning of the social concern and urban realism that feature so heavily in The Jam's output and which became a core part of their overall importance.
This is a raw and powerful sound and lacks the refinement of the band's output from All Mod Cons but The Jam announced their arrival with full power and force with this debut and the multi layerd 18 year old lead singer sows the seeds for what was to come later. Brilliant stuff!!