Paul Weller was barely 22 when he started recording Sound Affects, his fifth album in just over 3 years. He was reading histories of Camelot alongside the romanticism of Percy Bysshe Shelley and William Blake, obsessing over The Beatles’ Revolver, and delving further into his disillusionment with the political and social climate that had prevailed in England at the end of the 1970s. During the same time, Weller apparently had a ‘thing’ for electricity pylons.

Sound Affects

So, in short, the writer’s perceived influences on The Jam’s 1980 album included Arthur and Guinevere, the Mask of Anarchy, the Fabs, and wire transmission towers. Although all that sounds like a crock, Sound Affects is well and truly saturated with this murky mixture, as well as with the additional absorption of contemporary styles, 60s formulae and steadfast motifs that would mark the majority of Weller’s career.

Sound Affects is Paul Weller’s favourite Jam album. This could be because it sounds “fresh” as he says, or it could be 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’). He works in his literary flair with a Shelley quote in the liner notes, the cover is a pop art collection of pictures that can each be related to an album track (not far from the artwork on 1995’s Stanley Road), and there is a smattering of 60s Beatles/Kinks/Small Faces influence about the whole thing. Valerie Siebert- The Quietus

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