TV Smith

The Future Used to Be Better

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Perhaps most will be feel titillated or incredulous by TV Smith resinging his old, unforgettable Adverts 1977 punk classics ("Gary Gilmore's Eyes" and "One Chord Wonders") backed by a modern punk band that's far hotter, tighter, meaner, and better recorded than his old band. (The Adverts were great for other reasons, a fantastic product of much different, more original times.) Really, the very idea sounds pointless until you hear how much Punk Lurex OK smokes 'em. In fact, if there is ever an Adverts tribute album, this Finnish four should be on first ballot. And Smith, whose credibility in writing socially committed songs has admirably endured ever since, sounds like he still fiercely believes every word he wrote when half his current age. He sings with more conviction than most of his era could convoke in a similar circumstance. But it says here, it's the three originals that are far more tingling, being fresh. All three conclusively show that Smith's songwriting/lyrical ability has never waned -- as his solo LPs have demonstrated, whether anyone's been looking for 23 years or not -- and that with the right group behind him, he remains a protest-music giant, while others got too comfy and lost their conscience. "My Punk Rock Poem," "World Just Got Smaller Again," and the title track are so comparable to the two oldies-but-newies, if you didn't know better, you'd think they might have been Adverts classics as well. But no, they're the sound of a man aging with his principles, self-esteem, artistry, and intellect so in tact. This EP rips, with chops, talent, and determination, thanks to a band with real enthusiasm to match its talent, and a singer chuffed to sing with them.