The Adverts: Reissues

Irrefutable expanded, coloured-vinyl proof that they knew more than one chord.

The Adverts Crossing The Red Sea With The Adverts album cover

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Synonymous with the earliest days of the Roxy, Covent Garden’s sweaty punk mecca, The Adverts were always different from the rest. Part of the appeal was leather-togged bassist Gaye Advert, one of the first truly iconic female punks, while the songwriting chops of frontman TV Smith possessed both a blazing intelligence and scabrous wit.

The only downside of 1978’s scintillating debut Crossing The Red Sea (910) was the omission of ace single Gary Gilmore’s Eyes, in which the executed US murderer bequeaths his organs to an unwitting patient. Thankfully, it’s restored here. One Chord Wonders and Bored Teenagers, meanwhile, skilfully skewer the lazy perceptions of punk, without ever quite making clear just what side Smith is on.

Follow-up Cast Of Thousands (810), issued a year later, was largely greeted with derision by fans and press alike, both camps taken aback by an experimental, keyboard-flooded work that sounded like the antithesis of its brusque predecessor. It’s aged particularly well though, with Smith showing genuine vulnerability on I Surrender and an intuitive grasp of dynamics on the terrific Television’s Over.

Alas, so were The Adverts. Stung by bad reviews and a lawsuit from two ex-members, the band split soon after, leaving this slim but heroic legacy.

Rob Hughes

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2008, and sister title Prog since its inception in 2009. Regular contributor to Uncut magazine for over 20 years. Other clients include Word magazine, Record Collector, The Guardian, Sunday Times, The Telegraph and When Saturday Comes. Alongside Marc Riley, co-presenter of long-running A-Z Of David Bowie podcast. Also appears twice a week on Riley’s BBC6 radio show, rifling through old copies of the NME and Melody Maker in the Parallel Universe slot. Designed Aston Villa’s kit during a previous life as a sportswear designer. Geezer Butler told him he loved the all-black away strip.