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Baker's Dozen

Peculiar Relationships: Neil Gaiman’s Favourite Albums
Emily Mackay , November 21st, 2013 08:30

Following this week's release of his live collaborative album with Amanda Palmer, the fantasy and science fiction author picks out the records that have most inspired and informed his writing


The Adverts – Cast Of Thousands
For me, the great post-punk album is Cast Of Thousands. It's one of the strangest examples of an album happening at the wrong time or just happening ahead of the curve. People forget that The Adverts were right in the beginning of punk. 'One Chord Wonders' was one of the first punk singles ever to come out. At the time their second album, 'Cast Of Thousands' came out, just everybody shouted at them. The reviews for that album were scathing and scabrous and monstrous. As if it was the worst possible album that anybody could have made, as if they'd betrayed all the ideals of punk. Because it wasn't fast and loud and thumpy. What were they making this album for? And the weird thing is, the further away you get from that time, the fresher and smarter that album sounds. And the more its concerns haven't dated. It's absolutely about the things that we use as opiates, be it television or mass information. It's TV Smith at his sharpest lyrically, as an Advert, and the band sounds amazing. It's a really strong album in this weird melodic post-punk way. It hasn't really gone off into powerpop, which hadn't really quite happened yet anyway. But that's not where it's going. It's going, well, we've done this loud, three-chord bangy thing, let's go deeper and let's write better and smarter and more complex songs. At a time when nobody was ready for that.