The Vinyl Sessions - The Jam: Sound Affects

The Vinyl Sessions - The Jam: Sound Affects

11th September 2022

It’s been a long time coming but after 10 years the Vinyl Collective have finally, just about all, agreed on which Jam album to present.

‘Sound Affects’, issued November 1980, was The Jam’s fifth album. Recorded between June and October of that year, the album has the distinction of being the only LP in their recording career to be co-produced by the band themselves.

Ensuing a wide range of influences from post-punk (Wire, Joy Division et al), Revolver era Beatles, James Brown and a nod to Bowie’s Berlin trilogy, ‘Sound Affects’ is regularly cited as the best Jam album of all time. Indeed, this is in fact endorsed by no less than the Mod-Father himself, Paul Weller. It's an eclectic mix of old Jam and new Jam, acting as a musical bridge, designed to show the evolution of one of Britain's best loved bands.

Why is ‘Sound Affects’ Paul Weller’s favourite Jam album? This could be because, in his words, it sounds “fresh”, or possibly because it’s a self-contained piece of Weller himself – at least the bits he would respect and revisit. You have trademark deft social commentary ('Man In The Corner Shop', 'That’s Entertainment'), battles with doubt (‘Monday'), laments of communication breakdown ('Start!') and spitting political rage ('Set The House Ablaze', 'Scrape Away').

"That's Entertainment" is the most famous song on the album, a deeply ominous panorama of moody images and unpleasant observations, all underscored by alternately frightening and soothing acoustic guitars and "la la la's": "A smash of glass and a rumble of boots/An electric train and a ripped up 'phone booth/That's entertainment..." Other songs also fit into a psychedelic mode as well, like the Sgt. Pepper's turned into punk "Dream Time", while "Set The House Ablaze" confronts a newly converted fascist: "Promises, promises, they offer solutions, but hate has never won for long." (2022 & nothing has changed!). Weller is surrounded by political chaos, poverty, and despair, but he still tries to keep going, notice the smaller things, and pay attention to the girl he loves.

‘Sound Affects’ can be heard in every pop punk band who put speed before technical virtuosity. However, the infusion of soul and dance music is what makes ‘Sound Affects’ unique. ‘Sound Affects’ is the sound of a band pushing themselves even as they refine their song writing and their playing, and that's what makes it a classic.

The album will be presented by Steve, Andy, Carol and Barry of the Vinyl Collective.

The album playback will be followed by a Q&A session After a short break, we'll follow the album with our usual ‘Dead Wax’ session. Bring along a 7” of your choice and hear it played through the Arts Centre PA. This can be anything you like, for any reason – the more ‘out there’ the better. The bar will be open throughout.

£3 Admission. 
Doors open 12pm, session starts at 12.30pm.
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