The Sound's inability to break through to the type of '80s post-punk prominence reserved for the likes of Joy Division and Echo & the Bunnymen, the two bands the Sound fell in between sound-wise, isn't all that easy to explain away. Any deep-minded attempt to do so leaves one with a sort of abject sourness that can only be directed for, well, the human race. When a deserving band fails at to become something of a household name, the easy targets -- the industry, the press, the drug problems, the coke-head producer who mangled what was supposed to be the "Big Record" -- are normally fingered. But none of those targets truly apply here in the strictest sense. While most of the Sound's records were never released in the U.S., no American record executive can take any blame; they can simply point to the fact that the Sound were merely respectable unit shifters -- a prototypical cult act -- in their homeland of England, so they wouldn't have fared well across the pond. The press was generally supportive, especially early on; collectively they gave the band more positive reviews than most others, which makes perfect sense because none of the Sound's five studio LPs suffered from uneven characteristics. Each one made progress from the previous and each one ranged from good to spectacular. Their songs had hooks and emotional impact without bombast, with lyrics that often confronted the problems of young adulthood without simply moping and falling into escapist chutes. The members themselves weren't cute teen idol types (though they were far from being tough on the eye), and they didn't have big personalities or say big things during interviews, but that's obviously no fault of their own. They were able to cultivate large followings in Germany and Holland, but aside from those countries and a couple other European territories, indifference and history has made them all but invisible.