A devastating debut, one of the finest albums not only of the punk era, but of the 1970s as a whole, Crossing the Red Sea With the Adverts was the summation of a year's worth of gigging, honing a repertoire that -- jagged, jarring, and frequently underplayed though it was -- nevertheless bristled with hits, both commercial and cultural. "No Time to Be 21," "One Chord Wonders," and "Bored Teenagers" were already established among the most potent rallying cries of the entire new wave, catch phrases for a generation that had no time for anthems; "Bombsite Boy," "Safety in Numbers," and "Great British Mistake" offered salvation to the movement's disaffected hordes; and the whole thing was cut with such numbingly widescreen energy that, even with the volume down, it still shakes the foundations. The band's original vision saw a rerecording of "Gary Gilmore's Eyes," a Top 20 hit during summer 1977, included on the album -- it was dropped (for space considerations) at the last minute. Several early '80s reissues of the album attempted to rectify the omission by appending the single version to side two of the LP, but it was 1983 before the rerecording itself made it out, as a minor U.K. hit single, and 1998 before Smith himself was finally able to restore Red Sea to its original glory, with "Gary Gilmore's Eyes" slotted in immediately before "Bombsite Boy," and another absentee, "New Day Dawning," following "Safety in Numbers."
AllMusic Review by Dave Thompson