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THE ADVENTURES’ The Sea Of Love (Expanded Edition) reviewed!

     The Adventures rose like a phoenix from the ashes of Irish Punk/New Wave band Starjets. Vocalist Terry Sharpe and latter-day guitarist Pat Gribben formed the Pop-oriented outfit (along with Pat’s wife Eileen, Spud Murphy, Tony Ayre and Paul Crowder) and released their debut album in 1985. Depending on which country you were in, the album was called THEODORE AND FRIENDS (in the UK and Europe) or THE ADVENTURES (in the U.S.). While essentially the same album, each version featured different mixes of the core tracks (“Send My Heart,” “Another Silent Day”, etc.) and different artwork. The album’s shimmering, glossy production accented Gribben’s melodic flair and Sharpe’s vocals. The addition of Eileen’s vocals added a nice depth to the harmonies, of which there were plenty on display. While the album received good reviews and they earned significant airplay on both sides of the pond, The Adventures didn’t achieve the success they so richly deserved.

After a three year break and a label change, the band returned with THE SEA OF LOVE, a remarkable album that traded their shimmering gloss in for a warm and earthy sound. The melodies and big dramatic production were still present and accounted for but there was less studio gimmickry and more acoustic guitars, pianos, and traditional folk instrumentation. More focused than their debut, THE SEA OF LOVE was an album that embraced the senses and stayed with you long after it was over. The album’s lush production washed over the listener like a comforting embrace. “Broken Land” was the album’s first single and the band’s biggest commercial hit. That track and the rest of the album showed a huge leap forward in regards to songwriting, arrangements and emotional depth. While never a light-hearted band, THE SEA OF LOVE was certainly a more ‘serious’ album than their debut. Most bands needed to release many albums to get to this level of maturation but The Adventures skipped all of that and went straight for the jugular on their sophomore release. So many high points here including the aforementioned “Broken Land,” the lead-off track “Drowning In The Sea Of Love,” “The Trip To The Bountiful (When The Rain Comes Down),” the Poptastic “Heaven Knows Which Way” and so many others. Even the rocking “Hold Me Now” is still a beautifully lush track regardless of Gribben’s crunching guitar. THE SEA OF LOVE was timeless album that still sounds fresh and relevant today.

 
This expanded edition includes tracks taken from their singles and includes single versions, B-sides and even their rare cover of John Lennon’s “Instant Karma.” Although this album is just a few months shy of 30 years old, THE SEA OF LOVE should be held up as an example of what a proper ‘album’ should sound like.

 

Keep on truckin’,

Stephen SPAZ Schnee