After the Adverts expired, Smith formed the Explorers — originally a trio, but expanded to a five-piece (including an ex-Doctors of Madness bassist) by the time of its solitary album. Following on from, but vastly improving on the Adverts’ lame second album, The Last Words uses synthesizer and slick musicianship to mold an engaging dance program that benefits from Smith’s strong voice and inventive songwriting. There are touches of Sparks, the Only Ones, new romantics and others; a great record from a gifted performer.
Channel Five finds Smith going it alone on a tiny indie label, with only ex-Adverts keyboard player Tim Cross, the venerable Tim Renwick (bass/guitar) and a drum machine helping out. The LP reverts to Smith’s earlier no-nonsense, no-frills sound (if not exactly Adverts-styled punk), with his guitar leading the charge. A pleasant little record with strong songs, clever production and Smith’s burgeoning social conscience (“On Your Video,” “War Fever”). Sharp lyrics make the spry “A Token of My Love” the best track on this entertaining (if sobering) record.