Shhh...A longtime secret can now be shared. U.K. legend Adrian Borland's 20 year career is finally coming to America with the release of his latest solo gem, Cinematic, on the respected label Setanta. Truly, his legacy has come full circle since his first band, the Outsiders, became the first band in English punk history to self-release an album (the Buzzcocks were the first to self-release a 7", the Spiral ScratchCalling On Youth, thus ushering in the now commonplace "do it yourself" ethic.
Like so many involved in those halcyon days, Borland quickly moved away from the initially liberating loud/fast dictates of the punk explosion he helped found, and has since been known as the fabulous songwriter of moody, well-crafted, atmospheric pop. Cinematic, his fourth solo effort since his famous underground band the Sound called it a day in 1987, is only his second U.S. release out of an impressive catalog that takes in 13 ambitious studio albums, plus nine other LP's (and an EP) of other artifacts such as live documents, a best-of, a singles LP of his second recording group (the Joy Division/Velvet Underground inspired Second Layer), and even several side projects (see discography). More importantly, it's the finest work of his post-Sound career to date - just the sort of mature album that builds on a band's main strengths with a more personal touch.
In contrast to the appealing, but more glossy tones of his first two solo efforts, Alexandria and Brittle Heaven, Cinematic perfects the textural soundscapes, and genuinely "cinematic" soundtracks that back up Borland's effortless melodies. Starting off with the eerie and affecting, but ultimately resplendent "Dreamfuel," Cinematic gets under the skin while the tunes settle in the head. As evidenced on such standout compositions as "When Can I Be Me," Borland's warm, rich familiar voice croons steadily and sympathetically, adding shading elements.
Other notable tracks include the sparse, driving "Spanish Hotel," which includes guest bassist Phil King from U.K. chartbusters Lush, continuing a long association between the pair. Both of them hail from Wimbledon, South London. King's first band, the Beautiful Losers, were produced by Borland 14 years ago, as was King's later group, the Servants. King also previously played on recordings of Second Layer that have yet to be released.
All in all, Cinematic is a triumph - a special marriage of heartfelt soul, striking guitar passages, sparkling production, and superlative songcraft with searching lyrics. No better time for this veteran performer to reacquaint himself with American audiences far beyond the considerable cult following he already enjoys here - a fanbase of import buyers who can recount the actual dates they saw the Sound in the U.S. in 1983 and 1984, and who've hungrily purchased every release since. Cinematic proves that their secret is best exposed.
1977 THE OUTSIDERS Calling On Youth (Raw Edge UK)
1978 THE OUTSIDERS Close Up (Raw Edge UK)
1980 THE SOUND Jeopardy (Korova/WEA UK)
1981 SECOND LAYER World of Rubber (Cherry Red UK)
1981 THE SOUND Live Instinct Live EP (Warner Bros. Holland)
1981 THE SOUND From The Lion's Mouth (Korova/WEA UK)
1982 THE SOUND All Fall Down (Korova/WEA UK)
1984 THE SOUND Shock Of Daylight (A&M US)
1985 THE SOUND Heads And Hearts (Statik UK)
1985 THE SOUND In The Hothouse double live (Statik UK)
1987 THE SOUND Thunder Up (Nettwerk Canada)
1989 SECOND LAYER Singles Compilation (Play It Again Sam Belgium)
1989 ADRIAN BORLAND & THE CITIZENS Alexandria (Play It Again Sam Belgium)
1991 THE SOUND Counting The Days Best Of (Statik UK)
1992 ADRIAN BORLAND & THE CITIZENS Brittle Heaven (Play It Again Sam Belgium)
1994 ADRIAN BORLAND Beautiful Ammunition (Resolve UK)
1996 THE SOUND Shock Of Daylight and Heads And Hearts (Renascent UK)
1996 ADRIAN BORLAND Cinematic (Setanta US)