The Clash: Sound System (Sony Legacy) - album review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Monday, October 19th, 2020  

The Clash

Sound System

Sony Legacy

Oct 21, 2013 Issue #47 - September/October 2013 - MGMT Bookmark and Share


Regardless of whether one already has all of The Clash's albums, the immersive experience of sinking into the lovingly detailed Sound System will serve as a reminder of why fans agreed with their label's slogan, "The Only Band That Matters."

Sound System, whose packaging is constructed like an actual-size boombox with a flip-top, offers each of the band's five albums (minus 1985's Cut the Crap, released after Mick Jones's ejection from the band) in separate hard-bound book bindings with folders housing mini posters of the original LP sleeves or inserts, and presents the records in their original release form with a bounty of bonus material housed separately. Three CDs of extras cover a whopping 52 tracks, including B-sides and tracks from 12-inch singles and the Capital Radio and Cost of Living EPs, as well as fiery, must-hear recordings from their first and second sessions in 1976-77 and live takes from '79. A packed DVD provides a string of promo videos, the 20-minute Clash on Broadway film, live footage, and more.

The original albums, of course, are the reason for being here. There's a classic punk debut ('77's The Clash); its worthy follow-up ('78's Give 'Em Enough Rope); one of rock's great records in '79's 2-LP London Calling; the ambitious 3-LP Sandinista! ('80); and the band's biggest domestic commercial success, '82's Combat Rock. Plenty more is available to peruse while playing the CDs: sheets of stickers, badges, a dog tag, a blank book entitled The Future is Unwritten (all packed in mini cardboard road cases), a service manual that points out the box's details, a poster packed in a cigarette-styled tube, and, most notably, reprints and a new edition of the fanzine The Armagideon Times.

You may flip the top for a particular album, but with Sound System that's like trying to jog through a gallery to stop at only one painting. "Radio Clash," indeed. (www.theclash.com)

Author rating: 9/10

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Average reader rating: 10/10



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