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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
Sound Affects
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£5.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 10 November 2010
I haven't bought this re-issue yet, and, to be honest, I probably won't until it's in a bargain bin somewhere. Why? Well, as an ardent Jam fan since 1979 I feel I've poured enough into their coffers without shelling out yet more money for, essentially, eight new tracks (seven if you already own the demo of 'Pretty Green' - which I do) This re-issue offers precious little to the dedicated fan like myself who's already got the album itself, 'Extras' and the box set. How many more times do we need to pay for the same material? The snippets of the unreleased tracks that are hosted on Amazon seem to hint that the demos offer relatively little that's at variance with the released versions of the songs. Yes, they are only snippets... but when you're paying for an album yet again, just to pick up seven new tracks, you want something meaty for your hard earned. The remastering may or may not be good... but to be honest I've yet to hear a remastered album that sounded so utterly different (in a positive way) that it made me sit up and comment! And yes, I do own a decent hi-fi!

Putting all of the above aside, if you're curious about The Jam, or perhaps a casual fan considering buying this album, stop reading now and start ordering! If this re-issue was the first time all the bonus tracks were being issued it would be nothing short of an absolute revelation!

It's not that I can't afford the asking price for this re-issue, I'm just not sure I want to. The only person it doesn't seem to be aimed at is the real fan. Strange.
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on 17 December 2008
The Jam story comes to its climax with the stupendous 'Sound Affects'. Taking some of the sparse furore of 'Setting Sons' and stripping it down even further, Weller concocted a modernist brew of transparency and minimalism that happily just stays the upward side of risky experimentation.

Gone were the full-on arrangements of previous releases. Here, Weller fully took on board the zeitgeist of the so-called new-pop movement blazing across the UK in the early 80's ~ Important groups like The Sound, Clock DVA, Wild Swans, Crispy Ambulance and many others .. essentially, twisted agit-pop combos - but as part of a mode of musical history, the UK has never been as creatively deluged before or since.

Weller assimilated all this new enthusiasm into the framework of Sound Affects (and also the breathtaking 'Funeral Pyre' single), which in turn, took The Jam away into the corners, away from the mainstream and the comfort zone of the Top Twenty.
In a real sense, away from the numbers (!)

Luckily for them, their audience followed. In fact, it increased. 'Start' was No.1 for weeks, closely followed by the fierce 'That's Entertainment' - one of Weller's most recognizable songs - at the top bit of the hit parade.
The cool 'Monday' is an astonishing song, melancholy and abrupt.
Another fine Weller moment: 'Man in the Corner Shop' is a plaintive voice against individualism - the battle cry of Margaret Thatcher's incoming Tory Government.

Weller hated the bones of Thatcherism, but this antagonism sowed the seeds of his mid-80's self-destruction ~ fatally cultivated by his involvement with torpid political turkeys like the SWP and Red Wedge.
'Sound Affects' is Weller's last truly great work.
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on 2 February 2011
To all those who are cosidering purchasing this classic cd think again.This reissue has been letdown by the worst remastering I have endured since the 80s.Thin,trebly,no warm bass end,narrow stereo image.I have my original vinyl version and I know this album intimately and no I'm not a vinyl purist!What has happened in this 2010 alleged remastering process at Universal Studios London? Let me guess the original 2track master tape has not been utilized instead some third generation digital clone,minimal or no multi band compression/requalization resulting in the stereo image is being so narrow. A truly 'deluxe' edition would have a new 5.1 surround mix as the bonus disc.Where is the quality control at Universal Mastering London? Very dissapointing for one of the best uk albums of the 80s decade.
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on 21 February 2018
This review is for the “deluxe edition”.

“Sound Affects” was released in late 1980, with The Jam now at the height of their powers. “Going Underground” went straight to number one the previous March. In summer the lead-off single from this album, the “Taxman”-influenced “Start!” did likewise. The band were untouchable now, masters of ex-punk chart pop.

Paul Weller, much in admiration of The Beatles’ “Revolver”, seemed to want to produce a similar album - sparse, tinny, guitar-driven with some cutting lyrics scattered around for good measure.

“Pretty Green” kicked things off as we all hurriedly put this on our turntables to hear Bruce Foxton’s rumbling bass let us know our favourite lad’s band were back. “Monday” saw Weller going all romantic, with his accent to the fore - “rainclouds came to cloud my funder” then it is on to the breakneck, punky “But I’m Different Now” with its typicallyJam “aye-aye-aye” chorus. Next up is the anti-fascist put-down “Set The House Ablaze”. More “la la las”. Those choruses can sometimes sound a bit "naff" but at other times they seem to fit perfectly. Nobody else used them as much as The Jam did.

“That’s Entertainment” is a pure Jam classic. Written by a semi-drunken Weller late one night in fifteen minutes, sung against a stark acoustic guitar backing, it is a slice of late 70s urban British life in three minutes. Magnificent stuff. “Dream Time” is a touch of sixties psychedelia and “Man In The Corner Shop” another singalong semi-tragic Jam social conscience anthem.

The instrumental “Music For The Last Couple” is a bit of a waste, considering some of the great tracks left off the album but it all ends strongly with the Small Faces-ish “Boy About Town” and the dense, introspective “Scrape Away”.

Now, on to the remastering. I have to say it is dreadfully tinny and does the album something of an injustice. The 1997 remasters and the one used on the “Direction Reaction Creation” box set are both much better. What is bizarre, however, is that the extra tracks on disc two are remastered to a much higher standard, warmer and bassier. Also present on disc two are the quality extras in “Liza Radley”, the plaintive “All Mod Cons”-ish “No-One In The World”, “Dreams Of Children” and the Beatles cover “And Your Bird Can Sing”. Any of those could, and possibly should have made it on to the album.

Still worthy of owning, but the remastering could have been better. I am currently playing it on a better system than I have in the past and it sounds a bit better, so all is not lost.
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VINE VOICEon 8 November 2010
The received wisdom nowadays seems to be that "Sound Affects" is the Jam's second best LP. I personally don't agree - I don't think there's all that much between any of the final four Jam LPs. It doesn't quite hit the highs of Setting Sons (Burning Sky, Thick as Thieves, Smithers-Jones) or The Gift (Ghosts, Precious) BUT, it is probably their most consistent LP since All Mod Cons. And it does contain at least two of the best Jam singles that never were, in "Pretty Green" and "Boy About Town"; to say nothing of "Start!" b-side "Liza Radley", as featured on the bonus disc.

I'm generally a fan of Universal Music re-issues - they seem to have a knack of recreating how it felt to own the original vinyl LP (- the benchmark, Weller-wise, for me being the deluxe reissue of "Our Favourite Shop"). Whilst this new edition of Sound Affects is undoubtedly better than the standard CD edition, it's not quite as impressive as previous Jam/TSC/Weller re-issues. There's still the nice fold out digi-pack presentation. But on this occasion UMC have dispensed with the handy cellophane outer slipcase. Call me fussy, but the "hard copy" is like having a hardback book - you want the thing to last - and a slipcase stops the cover getting disfigured by my mucky paw prints. Instead that grey "deluxe edition" stripe you see on the Amazon picture comes courtesy of a see-through sticker which goes all the way around the box and serves no purpose other than to obscure the artwork. Pointless.

The bulk of the bonus disc is made up of songs already available on "Direction, Reaction, Creation" and "Extras". There are still eight unreleased tracks as well - all good (better than 99% of Blur's back-catalogue, anyway) though not quite of the calibre of the material on "Extras".


If you don't own this album already, this is the edition to buy. On the other hand, if you're a Jam fan who has pretty much everything? Well...this IS reasonably priced and...would I pay £8.95 (at time of writing) for Paul Weller's uneaten Wednesday night tea? BirdsEye fish fingers, Heinz baked beans and chips (from the chip pan, slightly overdone), accompanied by a mug of tea and served on a wobbly wooden coffee table to a backdrop of a Grundig Colour TV showing the end credits of "The Changes" (hence the pylon reference)? Yes, I think I probably would.

Bring on the "Setting Sons" and "The Gift" re-issues.
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on 22 December 2010
This 2010 deluxe edition is a good release - my personal feeling is that with a bit more effort, Polydor/Universal could and should have made this an absolute killer release. So, why the criticism you ask - Well, Disc 1 is the original 11 track lp which clocks in at 36 minutes so basically around 43 minutes free space could've been used for more un-released tracks hidden in the vaults. Jam A&R man Dennis Munday`s 2006 book, "Shout to the Top" on the band, indicates some of the recordings still held and surely these lost classics (a number of acetates were cut for "Going Underground" & criminally omitted here!) could have been dusted down and included on this release - & upped it`s overall VFM factor!

Disc 2 has the bonus material although a few of these tracks have already popped up on "Extras" & on the "Direction, Reaction, Creation" box set from a few years back. A little disappointing that no 3rd disc was included to really tempt the fans - this could either have been a live disc from the legendary Newcastle City Hall gig (28/10/10) or a DVD of the complete German Rockpalast TV broadcast (30/11/80) - on both occasions, the band were at their un-stoppable best. Bootleg recordings from these gigs indicate that at least 8x tracks from "Sound Affects" were played at each show so it would have made sense for it`s inclusion. Also missing are the Promo vids for "Start!", "That`s Entertainment" and the rarely seen "Dream Time".

The sleeve notes also seem to give a slight Weller bias - Foxton & Buckler hardly get a look in nor does producer Vic Coppersmith-Heaven, designer Bill Smith or revered rock photographer Pennie Smith. Shame as it would have been nice to hear their input on the concept of the lp. Foreign release pics of the lp, promo items, the planned sleeve for "Pretty Green" or even snippets from the super-rare songbook would have also been a nice touch if included. Maybe I should also drop the guys at Record Store Day a line to see if the 4 Side Affects EP can be given a timely re-release!

To end on a positive note though, the original lp still sounds the business today with the likes of "Start!", "That's Entertainment" & "Man in the Corner Shop" being some of the finest tracks that the band ever recorded. The un-released demos of "Waterloo Sunset", "Monday" & "Scrape Away" are nice touches and show the band moving away from their so-called "Jam-Sound" into new territory (although The Beatles/Kinks/Small Faces influences are still apparent). This is the album that also broke the band in the States where U.K sales were matched with a chart placing of 72.

Lets hope rumoured news of "The Gift" re-issue are true and that Polydor/Universal can really get their act together for this one - although a double 35th Anniversary release of "In the City" & "This is the Modern World" complete with the 100 Club gig (11/09/77), related demos, radio sessions, TOTP appearances & pre-Polydor recordings would be more my cup of tea.

Additional note: just check out this superb review from The Quietus - http://thequietus.com/articles/05249-the-jam-sound-affects-review
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on 12 December 2010
As an audiophile, the first thing I have to say about this package is that the remastering has to be one of the best I've ever heard. Every time I purchase a CD over the last 10+ years, my first concern is if it's going to be blasted so loud that most of the dynamics are squashed out making it painful to listen to. Not only are all the dynamics fully retained in this wonderful new remaster, but there has been a careful amount of re-equalization to correct from the midrange-heavy remaster from 2000. Also, there have been no poor attempts to remove or minimize the analog tape hiss. The person credited for remastering the sound is Tibor Pesci. I am unfamiliar with any previous release that may have been remastered by him but if this is the kind of quality that comes as a result, Universal mastering should hire him to remaster the entire back catalog of the Siouxsie and the Banshees botched remasters. I'm remarkably impressed with this product.

Now, onto the music. I spent many years avoiding The Jam. The video for `A Town Called Malice' was all over MTV in 1982 but did not catch my ear. It wasn't until first hearing `Going Underground' in the early 2000's on VH1 Classic that I decided to investigate some of The Jam's music. Based on a compilation I purchased, I avoided the early punk albums and started with the `Setting Sons' album. I was somewhat underwhelmed, but liked enough to move to the next album, 1980's `Sound Affects'. This album was a revelation for me. There are plenty of wonderfully catchy hooks and great songs that made me think The Jam's overblown and overrated reputation may not be entirely exaggerated. I eventually purchased their final album, `The Gift'. While I enjoyed many tracks on that album as well, I still find `Sound Affects' to be the most consistent album.

`Sound Affects' is filled with so many great songs: `Set The House Ablaze' has a great whistle-hook, `Monday' has an attractive melancholy melody, `Scrape Away' is a strong and hook-filled album closer. This special edition also comes with a bonus disc of 22 period rarities and curiosities. Though many are only of minor interest to me, it's nice to have all of it collected in this one package for any future interest.

If `The Gift' and `Setting Sons' are given the deluxe treatment, and remastered by the same engineer, I'll happily re-purchase those as well. As a nice change to some of my other (audio) critical reviews, I'm pleased to finish this by saying, well done Universal Music.
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on 14 May 2010
I don't claim to be a big fan of The Jam, and I can only claim that they produced two great albums 'All Mod Cons' and 'Setting Sons'. Much of this album is so average, I find it hard to understand why it is so revered and so highly rated. For me it is only saved by the two single tracks; 'Start!' and 'That's Entertainment'.

With six albums released in five years, each one of the Jam's albums is a distinct stage on Paul Weller's journey from callow, Thatcher-supporting yoof to mature writer with more on his mind than just teenage angst and political disatisfaction. This, their fifth effort, often vies for the title of their best; the other candidate of course being 1978's All Mod Cons. But whereas AMC is a heady slice of proto-Britpop, wearing its sensitivity and social comment (and debt to the Kinks) like badges, Sound Affects is a superb amalgam of funk and mid-60s psychedelic rock. All sprinkled with fantastic hooks and tight-as-you-like playing.

This was where Weller began moving towards the Britfunk of his next outfit, The Style Council. Horns began to enter the mix on tracks like Dreamtime while Bruce Foxton's bass on opener Pretty Green was a distinct move away from the bolshy four-four of previous work.
The band or should I say Weller had obviously opened their ears to more than just the Who and Ray Davies. Weller's lyrics were also more human and approachable. Several times he makes self-deprecating reference to his 'star' status (Boy About Town) and also the acceptance of the healing power of love (But I'm Different Now). Only on Set The House Ablaze (which sounds like an out take from their previous album, Setting Sons) does he sound like he's treading water. The album is probably the bands most varied and surprising record mixing short,g iddy bursts of pop mixed with melancholy songs of the unchanging human condition "whlist stil focusing on tough social and political writing isues.

The sound here has post punk and 60s psychedelia influences throughout but they never really overwhelm the record , its still very much a jam album and both bruce foxton and rick buckler show here what fantastic supporting players they were for Weller, Which is a shame because I thing if Bruce and Rick were given the opportunity the Jam could have so much More. Ultimately Sound Affects shows a band that was being pushed by its leader slightly beyond their level of ability. Buckler and Foxton's propulsive acumen was already falling behind Weller's ambitions and direction After the full-on soul revival of The Gift he was to abandon the three-piece for pastures new. But on this album you get to hear the Jam at their post peak before their demise.
Sound Affects, it is ultimately more of a pop album than its four predecessors.,

Wellers incisive buzzsaw guitar is often relegated to the background in favour of Bruce Foxtons melodic and hummable basslines. Much of the album is instantly accessible and the anger has gone. The album is very polished but, for all its accessibility, the tracklist often dips into more experimental territory, and also explores an almost-psychedelic sonic template in places, augmented with layered instruments.

This Album was created and improvised in the studio with only a few ideas for lyrics and chord sequences. The in situ creation of Sound Affects resulted in an inconsistent record with different moods and atmospheres unique to each track, giving a slightly incohesive feel. However this didn t stop the album selling 100,000 plus copies. End of year polls in 1980 placed the band at the forefront of the British music scene. Despite all this, Sound Affects proved to be their penultimate album; it was the beginning of the end for The Jam.

Sound Affects was released in November 1980, following the lead-off No.1 Start!, and was the follow-up to the success of 1979 album Setting Sons and the famous single that followed that album Going Underground. Sound Affects bore a lot less of a punk or mod influence than the albums that went before it, and was the first Jam album to not contain a cover version on it. It doesnt sound like previous records in most ways, and in many ways some of the instrumentation is odd-sounding and abrasive, yet somehow virtually all the songs are catchy and contain some sort of hook.

It is difficult to look at the album as inconsistent although virtually every track is memorable yet confusing why. Obviously there are the fan-favourites forming the backbone. Pretty Green is a thundering opener with a strong one-note bassline and catchy verse lyrics. The stop-start dynamics of the song immediately catch the attention, despite the song being quite weak when taken out of album context. .

The record only is only memorable because virtually all the songs contain a brilliant chorus. Throughout the tracks there is experimentation in intros and verses. Riffs are played in a way that sounds backwards, there is the odd funk bassline dotted around, vocal follow odd patterns, there are large psychedelic-sounding verses, but all the tracks pull together for choruses with memorable vocal lines.

Sound Affects Blatantly highlights that the state of the band at the time Buckler and Foxton were uncomfortable leaving the signature Jam sound behind, whereas Paul Weller was uncomfortable with his celebrity status and growing tired on his audience (and band mates) narrow minds. One album after this The Jam would be over,.

So ask your self the question Weller "A spokes person for a generation a disenchanted youth"- Was her really or was he just pretending.

A spoilt kid who got lucky and perhaps a well deserved break who then threw his dummy out of the pram.

For the real Jam all you need is All Mod Cons and Setting Sons.

Weller the Champagne Socialist
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on 10 June 2010
Looking back at my review of XTC's 'Black Sea' a couple of years ago I stated boldly that it was 'better then Sound Affects' - a bold statement, but one I will stand by as I continue my reappraisal of The Jam and Weller in general. It's all about personal opinion and where you were at the time. I tried my hardest to build up the same sense of anticipation for release of 'Sound Affects' as I had felt for 'Setting Sons' a year earlier, but by the Autumn of 1980 all of the fun had gone from the mod revival of 1979 - most of the parka clad kids I had bunked in to see 'Quadrophenia' with and joined for the legendary Jam gigs at the Rainbow in December of 79 had defected and turned into bleached jeaned, green jacketed skinheads, just a year or so shy of the full metamorphosis into pink cardigan wearing and wedge haired Casuals. Fed up of the latent violence of youth tribalism, I had started to realise that I was probably just a closet hippy after all and by the summer of 1980 I was hiding under a big pile of albums by The Doors, The Stones, early Floyd and as much psychedelia as I could spend my £12 a week supermarket wages on. I probably blamed The Jam - the folly of youth, although I continued to buy their records and dutifully queue up for gig tickets when they toured.

Sound Affects still has some golden moments; 'Pretty Green' (fantastic live - Foxton's bass intro - dum da dum dum dum 'Oi!') and 'Monday' one of Weller's greatest love songs plus of course 'That's Entertainment' and the classic single 'Start' But now, as all those years ago, I find that on many tracks ('Set The House Ablaze' 'Scrape Away') Weller's bold ideas just meander and the album as a whole lacks the warmth and bite of its predecessor.

This most likely is the best and most accomplished Jam album, but certainly not my favourite. Then again, I have always preferred The White Album to Revolver.

My teenage kids tell me that youth tribalism and cultures still exist, but I'm not no sure. At least the 21st Century 'mods' seem to have it worked out by cheerfully blending the style, look, music etc of Skins, Rude Boys, Soul Boys etc - if only we could have done that all those years ago we might have all leapt around to 'Sound Affects' together and had much more of a laugh.

Amazon don't do half stars but for what its worth, this is a three and a half stars review.

I'm a miserable old hippy today - sorry. Buy, make up your own mind, and hopefully enjoy!
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on 9 November 2010
My favourite Jam LP and up there with my all time favourite records. I agree with the earlier review that this remastered version sounds a little trebly but I also think there are things on there I've not heard before (the count in to That's Entertainment for example) but overall I think they've done a good job with the sound. As for the extra tracks a lot has been available before on Extras and the boxed set. Even the "unreleased" Pretty Green was given away in cassette form with an issue of Select magazine so a bit disapointed with the extra disc. My main gripe however is with the sleeve notes. Weller himself describes how the bulk of the songs developed from jam sessions/rehearsals so it would have been nice to have the recollections of Bruce and Rick - it's not as though they would have had to sit together in the same room in order to have done this. Love the album, love the band but feel this repackaged version could have been done much better.
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