The Adverts: Crossing The Red Sea With The Adverts (Anchor)*****

One Chord Wonders: no blunders

SOMETIMES I don’t know why I bother… Racing around the record companies for a hot new release, opening the pages of a rival paper to discover I’ve been scooped and — oh-hhh dear — reading that the platter I was going to give five stars to is a piece of garbage. Reviewing Rikki And The Last Days’ album has made me dubious of the whole — ah, function. The Editor of SOUNDS will look at this and sigh, “Oh gawd, yet more confessions of Saint Suck!” but at the end of the day have to read this, have to listen to people telling me what an appalling lack of taste I’m suffering from in liking Rikki, The Adverts, and whoever the next commercial-not-infra-dig New Wave band turns out to be… don’t dictate/don’t dictate/don’t dictate/dictate to me. Of course, can dictate to you — that’s the perk of my job, and I like my job and — goddammit for a Number Six coupon — I LIKE THE ADVERTS!

Joined their audience and became friends with TV Smith and young holocaust, Gaye, when the band was but two months old. (Mouths into beer). I remember when this lot couldn’t even afford a loaf of bread! But Tim Smith, prophet, sage, the-new-Bob Dylan-says-his-manager, had a vision. It wasn’t the second coming or even coffee prices falling, only of a punk band creating good-time music (i.e. hit singles and TV shows), sending its live audiences home happy (clutching their colour pictures of Ms Advert), yet at the same time fulfilling his songwriter’s need to get ‘the message across, maaan’.

TV Smith is the fly on the wall of this Brave New World… er, Wave: ‘What are you gonna do/with your New Wave?… you were always there anyway…’. Analyse his songs, and I wouldn’t insult his modus operandi by ordering you to, and you’ll see that what appears to be bouncy, simplistic music is, in fact, only the icing on a sour, often acid, cake: it’s all ‘bombsite dwellings’, ‘drowning men’, wheelchair cases, and waiting, waiting for — yew-www!

I’m glad that the Adverts are successful. It’s a gas to see them doing TOTP and entering the charts with ‘No Time To Be 21’ (I expect cult-intellectual band, Buzzcocks, to do the same). I’ve seen the fan-mail and the hordes of loyal fans who are going to buy this album regardless. If the home-made badges and T shirt brigade read this review, it will be because there is a dirty great picture of their heroes beside it — yeah, I know/what I kno-oo-w … that there is room for music outside of all the media ritzerama and closet-audience prejudice. My, my — didn’t The Single make a triumphant re-emergence in ’77! Crossing The Red Sea is full of ’em: ‘One Chord Wonders’, ‘Bored Teenagers’, Safety In Numbers’ (though no ‘Gary Gilmore’s Legs’, which would have been desecration), only the new numbers like ‘Hell On Wheels’ hint at any kind of (go-odd, cliché city time) new direction and sophistication in songwriting and execution. Even if The Adverts die at 21 years of age, TV Smith will remain active and a little Caesar in the music scene for years to come. I’ve got tealeaves at the bottom of my diet Pils, ain’t I?!

Just one thing, gang, the cover is so weird it’s — duh, psychedelic, and quite frankly — hideous. Intentional, eh, eh? Always one step behind and can I have a kiss now, Gaye —

© Jane SuckSounds, 11 February 1978

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