TV Smith & The Bored Teenagers
Replay the Adverts
It’s only smart to be wary about old artists recording new versions of their childhood. It’s not only the deprecations of time that the original songs are up against, after all; it’s attitude, too.
Few people feel the same way about a song’s subject matter when they reach middle (or more) age as they did when they were “kids”; few can deliver it with the same intensity and purpose, and that’s not simply an ageist rant. It’s apparent every time an old favorite reforms after umpteen decades away, “because we still have unfinished business,” and you’re sitting there thinking, “really? Your last unfulfilled ambition was to play oldies to a half empty casino full of people eating scampi? Wow. I’d never have guessed.”
TV Smith’s lucky. Partly because, as a solo artist, he’s still confronting much the same societal injustices and divisions as he always was… and partly because, if anything, those injustices have grown even more pronounced since then. And partly because this isn’t a reunion, and the Bored Teenagers aren’t the Adverts. They’re not old enough.
We can also add the fact that this entire album was recorded in a tiny studio barely 12 hours after the same songs were performed live at the Rebellion Festival, meaning the sweat had barely dried before it started flowing again. And the real joy is, it sounds as fresh as yesterday.
The track listing is predictable, but that’s what we want. Opening with “No Time to be 21” and “Safety In Numbers,” then playing both singles’ b-sides as well, Smith and the band perform the Adverts’ debut album, Crossing the Red Sea With The Adverts, in its entirety, alongside the aforementioned flips, four songs from Cast of Thousands, one more b-side, 1978’s “Back From The Dead,” and the inevitable “Gary Gilmore’s Eyes.” And they do them full justice.
Everything was played live in the studio, everything was one take, and the entire album was more or less recorded in as much time as it takes to listen to it.
Likewise, everything… instruments, energy, anger and, yes, attitude… is cranked up to 11, and while the Smith voice is definitely a little huskier than it was in 1977, he can still twist his tongue around lyrics that squeezed 10 words into the space of two, and still make them make sense as well. Most bands, when they try to roll back the years, are more likely to make listeners roll back their eyeballs. Smith and the Bored Teenagers keep you looking forward all the way through.
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