What does it sound like?:
Does a city have a distinctive sound is the central question of this sort of compilation. In the case of Sheffield it’s not a city that produced bands who broke through during the first flush of punk – London, Manchester and Liverpool are perhaps rather more well known. Rather, Sheffield bands came through nationally a year or two later, and added a sense of synth adventure to the choppy rhythms and scratchy guitars of the post-punk template. Things were industrial, post-industrial and futuristic. William Burroughs, JG Ballard, Philip K Dick, Alphaville and above all Clockwork Orange were some of the cultural touchstones.
This huge compilation – almost 100 tracks – charts ten years in the musical life of Sheffield from early Human League through to proto-acid house. In a compilation of this size there’s no way to review each track individually surely, so let’s try and draw out a few themes:
The famous bands There’s a handful of tracks by bands that everyone will have heard of. Heaven 17’s Fascist Groove Thang, ABC’s Alphabet Soup, Dancevision by the Human League, pre-Island Pulp with Everybody’s Problem. Clearly these are the jewels in the steel » Continue Reading.