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The Undertones - The Undertones (Cover Artwork)

The Undertones

The Undertones: The UndertonesThe Undertones (1978)
Sanctuary Records

Reviewer Rating: 5
User Rating:


Contributed by: BSDBSD
(others by this writer | submit your own)

When one thinks of late seventies Northern Ireland, images of random violence, battling guerillas, the innocents caught in the middle, or generally anything from a Discharge song may come to mind. The soundtrack might be U2, SLF, or the Radiators, all important bands from that region. You probably w.
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When one thinks of late seventies Northern Ireland, images of random violence, battling guerillas, the innocents caught in the middle, or generally anything from a Discharge song may come to mind. The soundtrack might be U2, SLF, or the Radiators, all important bands from that region. You probably won't think of songs about candy bars and girls.

Nonetheless, that's what the best band from Northern Ireland at that time did, and the Undertones' combination of 60s pop music with the raw edge of punk was certainly controversial among the ranks of the punk scene. It didn't help that they were all just kids.

Their first offering, "the Undertones", shows them at their rawest. Double guitars, simple beats supported by a bass, and a singer with a quavery, high pitched voice. Throughout this distorted frenzy, though, the Undertones manage to compose some very catchy riffs, remniscent of the Ramones at times, the Beach Boys at others, and never too complicated. They also employ gang vocals in their choruses quite succesfully, and on their blatantly Ramones-influenced "Male Model" have a guitar riff that sounds like it could have been an Oi! song.

The lyrics are excellent for what they are trying for, story-songs exposing the tension underneath the innocent surface of teenage life, most succesfully on their hit "Teenage Kicks". You won't find anything like "Suspect Device" on here, though, and that is why they were shunned. These kids saw rock music as an escape, and I can more than see how. The most anger exhibited by the singer here is on a song called "Mars Bars", as he spites Twix eaters in defence of his favorite candy.

This reissue adds 10 bonus tracks to the albums original 16, making for an hours worth of great music... For anyone who is a fan of punk, or rock in general and doesn't think lyrics have to be "socially aware" 100% of the time, order this or whatever.

Note: Blah blah blah score doesn't matter, whatever.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (April 17, 2004)

Is this a ska band?

-c22

Anonymous (December 18, 2003)

To a few comments down tht Undertones are from London Derry in Northern Ireland, U2 are from Dublin in the Republic of Ireland- knowledge is power- this album isn't bad but they were the Good Charlotte of their day, i dont think this band can be put in the same league as Stiff Little Fingers or the Clash but Teenage Kicks is a great wee song.

BSD (November 5, 2003)

The liner notes to "Clash on Broadway" are F'ing great indeed. It gives a more human side to the songs of the Clash. Great stuff.

-BSD

Anonymous (November 5, 2003)

Get a room!!!

Anonymous (November 5, 2003)

Adam-
No.
-Janelle
Were those the liner notes that Joe penned under a fictitious name or was that in Story Of The Clash Vol. 1?

adam (November 5, 2003)

Janelle: I'll have to check that out then. Have you seen the liner notes to the Clash on Broadway boxed set? (the original long box, not the compact one without the big book) it sounds quite similar.

-adam

Anonymous (November 5, 2003)

Adam-
Yes, I've read "A Riot Of Our Own" - I liked the other two better myself, as they're more informative, but still this book is nice because it's full of some funny stories and written in an "everyman"'s tone - and being it's written by oddball Johnny Green, it's no wonder...
About "The Clash", I believe I ordered that one through Barnes and Noble. Yes, indeed I did. And even though "Last Gang" is exceptional (you've probably read it), I really like "The Clash" because it's just this great little handbook almost, packed with some useful information on their recordings (among a brief history of the band, etc.). I liken it to my copy of 'The Communist Manifesto' - compact and handy to have around.
-Janelle

adam (November 5, 2003)

Janelle is that "The Clash" book readily available somewhere? I looked breifly on amazon and I didnt have time to look through the 30011 search results.

Have you read "A Riot Of Our Own" ?

-adam

Anonymous (November 5, 2003)

"janelle: so you read books... do you want a medal? wisest is she who knows that she is not wise. do not proclaim yourself to be smart. it's ugly."

All right all right...see someone had to think that I'm "showing off" or what have you. NO THAT'S NOT IT. I just want to make a point that I'm not bullshitting or whatever or "name-dropping" = god that really gets me. Rather, to show that I'm truly interested in the origins of punk and want to expand my knowledge, by yes, reading literature on the subject.

adam (November 5, 2003)

Janelle, BSD: Thanks for contributing reviews / comments etc of some of the more classic material. While a lot of the teen commenters don't appreciate it, I can assure you that the staff and our readers (the majority that don't post comments) do.

-adam

Anonymous (November 4, 2003)

http://images-eu.amazon.com/images/P/B00004NS28.02.LZZZZZZZ.gif


That's the cover, I believe.

-BSD

Anonymous (November 4, 2003)

"But if I may be Cliff Clavin for a moment, U2 is NOT from Northern Ireland (me thinks they're from Dublin..)"

Yeah, but people thinkin of Irish bands... I was thinking of the most famous Irish punk bands in general. I don't know where they're from personally. Not a big fan outside of the first 2 albums. Bono's jack assery has discouraged further investigation.

And to the guy complaining about the score not counting: Sorry, I just don't find it right to make any score for this... I can't honestly decide. In some aspects, it's what you would consider a 10, but not all, I guess. I can't rate music that easily. But in this case, since this is such a great album, I think it deserves it. Nothing's perfect, but this is pretty close for what it was aiming for.

-BSD

maverick (November 4, 2003)

BSD-

About the cover art: this is the cover art that Interpunk.com had listed for the album. If it is wrong, please point me in the right direction and I'll change it, thanks.

-Scott

Anonymous (November 4, 2003)

The Undertones rock. But if I may be Cliff Clavin for a moment, U2 is NOT from Northern Ireland (me thinks they're from Dublin..)

--Cos

Lunk (November 4, 2003)

janelle: so you read books... do you want a medal? wisest is she who knows that she is not wise. do not proclaim yourself to be smart. it's ugly.

i've never heard of this band, but i may check them out based on this review. but yeah, you SHOULD give a score.

Anonymous (November 4, 2003)

"Note: Blah blah blah score doesn't matter, whatever"

go eat fecal matter loser. only a few records truly deserve a 10 and this ain't one of em. stop being a jackass. seriously, users submitting scores is stupid. the readers should all get to give a score and the compiled votes would be a more indicative respresentation of the album.

Wooderson (November 4, 2003)

I like Janelle cause her name is perdy

Anonymous (November 4, 2003)

Well, gee, I'm sorry, but the thought of this band sparked a feeling that that [tour] was the case and I wanted to see if it was true. I thought maybe JUST MAYBE someone would know here, and if ANYONE did it would be BSD cos he's one of the only people here who actually knows his shit...Ok, but that's enough justifying my comments.
-Janelle
and why would I be trying hard to impress you assholes?

annonymous (November 4, 2003)

It seemed pointless bc you had already recognized that you were familiar with the record... and then you go on to say,
"My memory's shot - Did The Undertones support The Clash on a U.S. Tour? Someone help"
It's not like you were at that show.. so what is the point of recognizing they toured together?... i dont care if you read books....i know that you obviously read that somewhere you just don't need to announce it to everyone in such a discreetly pretentious manner

Anonymous (November 4, 2003)

"o yeah and to the dickhead below me, i did respond....i was stating my opinion if you don't like it fuck you and get off Janelle's jock"

a) You obviously didn't read my comment correctly.

b) I said that because it's happened to me numerous times.

c) In the future, when commenting on a review, at least try to briefly touch on the subject of the CD at hand.

-BSD

Anonymous (November 4, 2003)

God damn that fake cover art is irritating. It's like the person just went to amazon.com.

Anonymous (November 4, 2003)

"Either way your comment seemed pointless to me..."

How is it pointless, if it pertains to THE BAND THAT'S BEING REVIEWED?
-Janelle

And thanks guys for the support! Yeah sometimes it sucks to be smart!

annonymous (November 4, 2003)

o yeah and to the dickhead below me, i did respond....i was stating my opinion if you don't like it fuck you and get off Janelle's jock

annonymous (November 4, 2003)

Either way your comment seemed pointless to me... I dont hate you i just think you say things that seem as if you're trying really hard.....if that's not the case...sorry =(

Anonymous (November 4, 2003)

Thats a point. When teeny boppers come to this site and see educated comments, they either are too intimidated to respond or make it look like the smart person is a poseur. Idiocy.

-BSD

Anonymous (November 4, 2003)

MY REVIEWS of these books cos yeah, i'm just name dropping...

The Clash:
http://rebelnoise.com/viewshowreviews.php?id=44

Return Of The Last Gang In Town:
http://www.scorerocks.com/032003/theclashbook2-03.html

-Janelle

Anonymous (November 4, 2003)

"Janelle just looked that up somewhere so she could name drop"

WHO THE FUCK HATES ME SO MUCH? Damn you - I fucking read BOOKS. You should try it. Fuck off.

Return of the Last Gang in Town is great, also the tiny book just called The Clash - small, compact, but good for the basics and breaks down ALL their LPs, singles, etc. brilliantly.
Retard.

-Janelle

Anonymous (November 4, 2003)

Wrong cover art. But oh well. This CD came with the original art and liner notes.

-BSD

inagreendase (November 4, 2003)

This score is for a U2 mention on this site. Even though they're dead to me post-1992 minus "Thrill Me..."

annonymous (November 4, 2003)

Janelle just looked that up somewhere so she could name drop

Anonymous (November 4, 2003)

My memory's shot - Did The Undertones support The Clash on a U.S. Tour? Someone help.
-Janelle

Wooderson (November 4, 2003)

I've never actually heard this bands songs but when joe strummer died, Much More Music played a segment of when The Clash first played Toronto. They had with them The Undertones and they interviewed them as well in the hotel with The Clash. They were pretty funny dudes.

Anonymous (November 4, 2003)

Oh BSD, never lets me down...
-Janelle

fakesmile (November 4, 2003)

Amazing album!

Get Over You is my favorite track. But Here Comes The Summer is the sunniest track ever.
All songs are killer.
A real classic.

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