Paul Ess. | Holywell, N.Wales,UK. | 12/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Jam story comes to it's 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 only just stays this side of suicidal 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 UK in the early 80's.
Important groups like The Sound, Clock DVA, Wild Swans, Crispy Ambulance and many others - essentially twisted agit-pop combo's - 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 him, his 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 end of the hit parade.
'Monday' is an astonishing song, melancholy and abrupt.
Another of Weller's finest moments, '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, and his antagonism toward it began to sow the seeds of his 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."