Song of the day – 26: The Adverts
Some lovely folk from the UK have just sent me the reissued second Adverts album (Cast Of Thousands) replete with bonus CD and everything.
And Bangs alive, it sounds incredible: articulate, melodic, sarcastic, nasty, challenging, full of fire and vigour and saliva and that killer drum sound. Way too smart for its good, of course. As I mentioned here, TV Smith was totally ’77’s most underrated lyricist. (I heard a solo album of his a couple of years back and he still sounds super-fine.)
Like many, I never fully appreciated The Adverts at the time, beyond the killer run of singles – it took me over a decade to catch up, and I’m catching up still. Would I be incorrect to thinking they were more akin to Television or Voidoids or Subway Sect then most of their two-chord peers? (Not that there was anything wrong with being a two-chord peer.)
The music press of the day loved them because bassist Gaye Advert wore a school tie and a leather jacket. It still strikes me as an odd reason.
P.S. The Adverts’ second album was originally produced by the same dude who was responsible for Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells. This would have undoubtedly put me off back in 1979 – to such an extent that there’s no way I would have gone near it. You might now see this tunnel vision as a strength of weakness. I still see it as one of my main strengths.
P.P.S. There’s a direct link between The Adverts and early 80s California punk: indeed, a far more direct link than between most of The Adverts’ contemporaries and what followed in the US. For this reason alone, The Adverts are worthy of way more appraisal.
P.P.P.S. Anyone else note the similarities between the chorus in ‘I Looked At The Sun’ and Hazel O’Connor’s ‘Eighth Day’ (the climactic song in 1980’s Breaking Glass)? I’d be happy to stand up for TV Smith in court…
P.P.P.P.S. Ha ha ha. On one of those links I’ve posted here, I totally let the façade crumble when it came to detailing my loathing for The Clash. I stand by the review. It’s a great live album: and I always did love putting on the debut Clash album when I needed a little bit of easy listening, wallpaper music