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4.6 out of 5 stars73
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 15 December 2004
The Jam were never just a band that you liked a bit & could take or leave.
To myself,my circle of friends, & I guess many,other people around at the time,They & their music were the soundtrack to our lives.I eagerly bought everything that they released & would sit glued to the TV, watching their inevitable rise through Punk to Mod, & eventually into being a chart topping, no1 singles band.It was at this point that Weller,(the Jam`s main creative force) suddenly announced his decision to leave,which effectively split the band at the peak of their powers.
At the time it seemed a bizarre decision,but in retrospect, latter Jam albums like "The Gift" had more bad tracks than good, & came nowhere near to matching their earlier offerings.
The real peak ,many believe,came in 1980 with the release of "Sound Affects".
It was at this time that Weller Wrote "Start" & the classic "That`s Entertainment", both of which feature here.
Weller himself Sites this as his favourite Jam album & it really delivers,every track, from beginning to end.
He is at his lyrical best here,& mixes wonderfully crafted love songs, with other tunes,that see him doing what he has always done best,reflecting on life in general with his inspired social commentries.
Each song has a right to be on the album & gives you something different than the last.
Dont do the "Greatest Hits Thing"
Buy "Sound Affects" Its The Jam at their best,
& does exactly what it says on the tin!
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on 2 May 2003
To me, this is the only Jam LP that feels complete, has variety and consistency. We have the melody of 'Man in the Corner Shop', the immediacy and tightness of 'Start' as well as the stark early 80's new wave feel of 'Set the House Ablaze'
The album begins with the simple but memorble bass line of 'Pretty Green', moves into the anticipatory love of 'Monday' (does anyone else think this sounds like the theme tune to 'The Bill'?) and then we're in. Every song is awesome and benefits from what I can only describe as a metallic, harsh production where the vocals are almost set back behind the music but provide just enough to drive the songs forward.
I think this is Weller's attempt to rewrite 'Revolver' in a 'modern' style. It captures 'The Jam' at their peak of songwriting (bear in mind, 'Going Underground' does not feature on this album even though it was written around the time).
Don't buy the collections and greatest hits, immerse yourself in this album and enjoy!
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on 7 March 2007
Music historians will always site "All Mod Cons" as The Jam's greatest achievment because of its significance in the scheme of things. But this record has to be my favourite from the Wheller collection. It's the variety that gets you first. Compare the pounding bass of the opener "Pretty Green" to the melancholy of "Monday" and then the thrashing rhythm of "I'm Different Now" or the psychedelic post-punk of "Set The House Ablaze". And then there's the Beatles/Harrison tribute "Start" (the bass line is affectionately nicked from "Taxman"). And don't forget the classic "That's Entertainment", a song that elevates Wheller from punk rocker to voice of a generation (and a few generations to come). I don't understand why The Jam didn't become the biggest band in the world...i suppose the music is just too good for the american market.

Do yourself a favour and buy this will never ever ever regret it. Trust me on this one.
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on 4 November 2004
If ever proof were needed that Paul Weller is a God, it is found here with some of the best song writing you are likely to see.
That's not to discredit Foxton and the rest of the band who provide the musical force to back-up Weller's superb lyrics and vocals. This can be heard especially on 'That's Entertainment' (my personal favourite) and the excellent 'Set the House Ablaze' with it's whistling ambient intro.
Another Outstanding track, one which I disliked at first but have now come to love, is 'Boy About Town', which seems to capture the mood of every young man from the age of 17-22 so well.
Most of all The Jam have a legacy that can be seen today as they have influenced and inspired many artists.
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on 6 September 2005
Growing up in the late 70's my soundtrack was a mix of punk/ska/mod-the usual suspects.Most of those old records sound really dated now,but this album i just can't stop revisiting.Weller's psychedelic stuff (this album plus b-sides like butterfly collector or tales from the riverbank etc) seems to me to be up there Revolver,Floyd's Piper or Who Sell Out-just timeless music.
For those who haven't heard Sound Affects i can best describe it as the mutant offspring of Gang of Four and Revolver-era Fabs.For those who like their Power-pop with a healthy dose of Psychedelia!
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on 21 December 2010
Bought the re-issue the other day as havent had SA since i bought it on vinyl all those years ago. Well memories came flooding back. It was quite a time when it came out-was it spring'80? Certainly think a lot of the songs stand up even today. My favourites have always been Pretty Green and Thats Entertainment but lyrics on Set The House Ablaze and Scrapeaway are stunning. In many ways i think SA was the true precusor to the Style Council and The Gift i always thought was a weak album albeit with some good tracks on it like Malice and Precious as well as the title track. To me The Gift was too obvious whereas SA was subtle and rounded.
SA had a very pastoral feel to it and went very well with some of the songs which Weller was writing at the time like Tales from the Riverbank. Music for the last couple was excellent in this respect.
However much i like SA it was synonymous with what i was doing-this does give a piece of music or album a strength as it provides memories but it doesnt quite knock, what in my view is their best one off the top. Many bands and singers usually have a golden period of between 3-5 years when they release 2 or 3 seminal albums. Dylan did it with Blonde on Blonde, Highway 61 Revisited and Bringing it all back home again. the Beatles with Sgt Pepper, Revolver, Rubber Soul and The White Album. Neil Young did it as did Van Morrison. For The Jam their period were the 3 albums, All Mod Cons, Setting Sons and SA and for me the middle one of those 3 was the best.
SA is a great album and was in my view the best of that year by a mile but for me Setting Sons hit the spot as the writing, tunes and the anger were all there.
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on 13 July 2007
For many this album represents the musical zenith for The Jam. It is a fantastic album from start to finish in terms of the songwriting. The earlier Setting Sons has few brilliant anthemic tracks such as Thick as Thieves or The Eton Rifles and was intended as a concept album with the themes of friendship over time being the focal point but by Paul Weller's own admission had a few fillers such as Girl on the Phone, Private Hell and the cover of Martha Reeves' Heatwave. This album by contrast is a highly polished offering, perhaps a little too over produced at times and as such saw The Jam going in a new direction. Gone is the earlier raucousness and anger and the imperfect guitar playing and vocals which added something to the songs and at times made them seem rather like live tracks. Instead, this album has a veneer and a polish which firmly established The Jam as a post-punk band.

Weller's vocals are muted and his growth in maturity as both a songwriter and a singer are clear. His voice sounds less angry, the guitar is strummed rather than twanged, Foxton's bass no longer pounds and in songs like The Man In The Corner Shop, Music For The Last Couple, Monday, Dreamtime and That's Entertainment show how musically at least the band produce some "sweet" and melodic music. Even the mandatory Weller rail at society's inequity and the hypocrisy of the establishment, Scrape Away is delivered in a more ironic and sombre rather than vitriolic way.

Nevertheless, the album is masterful. The band have sounded as good but never any better than they do here. For many The Jam existed first and foremost as a live act full of passion and adrenaline and this is as far from that image as the band ever came.

The album probably is as close to mainstream as the band ever came in terms of the music but the real reward for listening to the songs comes with the lyrics. Weller writes such fantasticly here in poetic style (indeed a section from Shelley's Mask of Anarchy is printed on the back of the original vinyl album- Weller's homage to romantic poetry and a hint at his mellowing)and with a clear precision not seen in many young writers of the time. Lyrically, The Jam reach their peak with this album and when you listen, they show that sound does indeed affect.
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on 3 August 2004
This album has it all. I think this has to be the best Jam album. It has everything. Each song takes you on a different journey with all trains stopping at Modsville - SUPERBE
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VINE VOICEon 15 October 2008
Described as a cross between Off the Wall: Remastered and Revolver by Paul Weller the Jams fifth studio album is also the last in a formidable trio of albums starting with All Mod Cons and continuing with the blistering Setting Sons. Weller also considers it the bands finest album and listening to it again its difficult to argue with him .....though i will because i prefer Setting Sons buts that a purely subjective thing as much to do with my history as well as any musical connotations.
Released in 1980 Sound Affects cover was a clever pastiche of the Sound Effects records produced by the BBC during the 1970,s . It also heralded a return to the more pop orientated sound of All Mod Cons after the angry punk edged Setting Sons. The music also has classic British psychedelic undertones so redolent of the 1960,s sound of The Kinks, The Who and The Beatles but also brings in elements of the burgeoning post punk movement . All this is melded together well by producers Chris Parry and Vic Coppersmith-Heaven but as usual its the quality of the songs that make the album special.
"Pretty Green" ( the record label Polydor wanted this as the first single off the album but Weller opted for "Start") kicks off with a deceptively simple thrumming Foxton bass line and Weller's trebly stabs of guitar. The lines "this is the pretty green / this is society " have never seemed more apt than they do now. The woozy ruminative "Monday" is followed by the static electricity chords of "But Im Different Now". "Start" is a good song but it is undoubtedly true that the bass line is a rip-off of the Beatles "Taxman" .The acoustic "That Entertainment" is lyrically one of Weller's finest moments and again a prescient view of modern day living though i would hazard a guess that if he were to write a modern version it would be even bleaker . It would be interesting to hear how the former "Red Wedge" member ( Weller infamously also aligned himself with the Tories at one point) views Britain after 10 years of New Labour.
"Dreamtime" is the most direct in the use of psychedelia though the coagulated chords of "Scrape Away" is also draped with overt psychedelic tones while the horn fuelled "Boy About Town" drops broad hints about the more soulful direction the band would take for their next album The Gift. "The Man In The Corner Shop " is a lovely wistful number full of empathy for it,s subjects and even the instrumental ( credited to the whole band) is a cracking tune with neat interplay between the bass and guitar and a tangible ska influence.
Sound Affects is a not just a great album but a great Jam album and that lifts it onto another level all together. Today's whelps could only dream of making an album as great as this. The fact it,s the third such triumph in a row only confirms further , if indeed it really needs confirming , what a special band The Jam were.
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on 13 September 2006
Best thing the Jam ever did, possibly Weller's peak so far as well.

A wonderful, confident album full of imagination, class and style.

Intelligent well-written songs played with fire and skill. "Monday" is wistful and charming ; "Man On The Corner Shop" melodic and infectious ; "Set The House Ablaze" sounds corrosive to this day and "Dream Time" is near-perfect.

Don't get bogged down in definitions of punk ; this is a great album by a band at the peak of their powers.
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