Expanded re-release of the 1978 second album by the London first wave punk band The Adverts.
In the same way that The Damned changed drastically for their Strawberries album, The Adverts had changed a lot between the recording of Crossing The Red Sea With The Adverts and Cast of Thousands. Problem was, The Damned transformation happened way later than The Adverts', and listeners and the press were not ready for this new pop sound, with piano and toned down guitar.
Cast of Thousands was produced by Tom Newman, who had produced Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells (with the song from The Excorcist movie). Maggie Riley was the singer on Tubular Bells. Her multitracked voice became part of the gigantic sounding chorus on the title song.
Really, the new sound of The Adverts should not have driven reviewers to sharpen their spears - bands like The Rich Kids were already playing power pop in London, and bands like The Speedies, Boyfriends, The Mumps and The Slugs were playing power pop in the US.
Songs like My Place, Male Assault and Televisions Over (the single) were top notch - no excuses needed. But throw on a track like the album closer I Will Walk You Home and you will have a hard time getting any punker to stand behind this record. But then listen to the very ambitious Cast Of Thousands or I Looked At The Sun and hear how the ideas that band had could work well. Even though I Looked At The Sun has sweeping synths right out a Moody Blues memory, TV Smith freaks out on the vocals at the end as the song builds to a grand finale.
The band's namesake song The Adverts is another crossover success, bridging the ban's earlier 4 chord punk sound with their newer experimental feel. The song actually is not about them, but is about the power od advertisements. While this song did not initially make my favorites list, I have found that the chorus of it is THE song that keeps running around my head.
Pretty soon you'll be living like The Adverts
in another universe
Living like The Adverts
Things could be worse..
Then there is Gaye Advert. Gaye Advert is the tough but cool bassist of The Adverts. She was one of the first female punk players that were not lead vocalists. In fact, she never sings at all in The Adverts. She has a bass style that is kind of wooden, but that is it's charm. She plays with the same (lack of) finesse as Arthur 'Killer' Kane in New York Dolls. Both players sound like they have club fingers, but both bring a spastic glory to their pick driven riffs.
In addition to a brand new remastering under the direction of bandleader TV Smith, this edition of Cast of Thousands includes the crucial 7inch version of Television's Over and the excellent non-LP single Back From The Dead. Back From The Dead has a sound that reminds me of the best material from the premier Boston punk band La Peste.
This new edition also contains liner notes by TV Smith that put each song into persepctive and give a feel about what was happening with the band when this was recorded. Additionally, Henry Rollins writes a review of the record that puts all others to shame.
Then there is an additional CD! The bonus CD has 18 Peel Sessions: four complete sessions totaling 18 songs - everything The Adverts recorded for the radio. This second disc is good enough that it could have been sold alone. To have to added to this Peel sessions disc at no extra cost makes Cast of Thousands - The Ultimate Edition an excellent value.