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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 25 June 2017
Whether you are a big fan off the undertone or not this is a classic album that will bring back many memories
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on 9 August 2010
From the second wave of punk, which had become commercially diluted and re-branded "New Wave" Derry's Undertones always had youth on their side. It was never about pure punk despite being pigeon-holed at the time. If anything their `punk' was candy-coated. A kinda Herman's Hermits prodigy

They were a breath of fresh air at a time a perfect illustration of perfect pop. Boundless effervescence and the enthusiasm of youth prevail throughout. Every track is a sub-three minute classic a little piece of simple genius, complete with spirit, insight and schoolyard wit. And that what makes it work the undertones never took them selves seriously they were just mates having fun. Besides we all know the only way to get a girl is by being in a band or a footballer. When listeing to these songs I'm transported back to the magic of 1979 is simply because the hook-laden songs are so good. Timeless mini-masterpieces that will always have a special place ones heart

Anyone who remembers seeing their first foray onto the nation's screens on TOTP remembers a spotty bunch of teenagers in cheap school jumpers, corduroys, toy instruments, doggy haircuts and coyness that was so endearing. Armed with seemingly rudimentary musical skills, the reason the Undertones stuck out was that, unlike their cooler older peers from London and Manchester, they didn't stick to the rigorous adoption of American garage and art rock like the Stooges to the Velvets. Their sound welded glam to pub rock, all topped off with Feargal Sharkey's Larry the Lamb warble. If they did take a cue from any USA acts it was the cartoon fun of The Ramones, Aamphetamine fuelled three minute pop gems

This album is near-perfection it. John Peel's enthusiastic championing of Teenage Kicks has arguably, over the years, served to eclipse the rest of The Undertones' canon. Derry's finest were so much more than one-hit wonders and, as purveyors of smart, catchy new wave pop, they were matched only by The Buzzcocks. One could be forgiven for think that these two groups were related.

Unlike their counterparts Stiff Little Fingers who sang about political struggles oppression and injustice, the undertones were content to restrict their repertoire to singing about day to day life of a working class kid. Few bands have ever communicated so directly to their audience, speaking the language of awkward adolescence writ subbuteo, parent purchased catalogue clothes and unattainable girls more interested in confectionary. These were topics the ordinary teenager could actually relate too.

Londonderry's most famous sons were never disparate malcontents in the way the genre's legendary exponents, the Sex Pistols, were. The music was never really an expression of angst and social alienation. There were no pointed social critiques, no hidden meanings, posturing or lyrical curveballs. Rather this was an articulation of teenage innocence!

The Undertones were glorious in their mundanity. Seemingly without even trying, they usurped their illustrious contemporaries in the talent-stacked post-punk era. They made it all seem so easy, which was the very essence of The Undertones. They learned their craft in the kitchens, scout huts and youth clubs of their native city before entering a `Battle of the Bands' contest in Belfast on June 1978. `Teenage Kicks' became the launch pad of a career that saw the band bravely attempting to cross to the pop platform that began to dominate at the start of the eighties.

Every generation deserves to hear Teenage Kicks, Jimmy Jimmy and My Perfect Cousin
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on 10 October 2008
The Sanctuary label have ruined a damn fine album with this re-issue.Why on earth place 'Teenage Kicks' and 'Get Over You' (as brilliant as they are) right in the middle of an album they did not originally appear on?Why remove the album version of 'Here Comes The Summer' and replace it with the inferior single version?Why do we need 12 extra bonus tracks anyway?As a result of this mauling the album sounds fragmented and will disappoint those of us who grew up with,and fondly remember the original record.
The track listing on the original album was Family Entertainment/Girls Don't Like It/Male Model/I Gotta Getta/Wrong Way/Jump Boys/Here Comes The Summer/Billy's Third/Jimmy Jimmy/True Confessions/She's A Runaround/I Know A Girl/Listening In/Casbah Rock.This is how The Undertones intended it to be and this is the order in which it should be played.I will not mention the bonus tracks but I'll remember the original record as it was meant to be.
The album kicks off in a somewhat dark style with the incest themed 'Family Entertainment'..('Mummy wouldn't like it,Dad's gone too far').It has irresistable hooks,lovely guitar riffs,Fergal Sharkey's quivering vocals and some catchy keyboard playing.Then follows the explosive 'Girls Don't Like It' and 'Male Model' with it's thick guitar riffs and Sharkey's vocals is up there with any punk song of the same period.This leads on to the georgeous 'I Gotta Getta' possibly the most perfect song on the album.
Every song is a gem here,check out the stop start punky 'Jump Boys' and topics including betrayal ('True Confessions') and suicide ('Jimmy Jimmy').'She's A Runaround' is frantic,bouncy pop and closer 'Casbah Rock' sounds like an out-take with it's muffled production and brevity but it works well nevertheless.
Fergal Sharkey,John and Damien O Neill,Mike Bradley and Billy Docherty created an almost perfect pop album with their 1979 debut album.
This re-issue may please newcomers to The Undertones' music but if you own the original copy on the Sire label and are considering replacing it with this re-issue,think carefully about parting with your hard-earned cash or you may be as disappointed as I was.
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Salvo's 2009 enhanced CD reissue of The Undertones wonderful debut album (30th Anniversary) differs from last year's Sanctuary reissue of the same in a few ways worth pointing out.

Here's a detailed breakdown (67:38 minutes):

Tracks 1 to 14 make up the 1st pressing of their debut LP "The Undertones" on Sire Records SRK 6071 initially released in May 1979 in the UK - January 1980 on Sire Records SRK-6081 in the USA. (The 14th track, the 50-second long "Casbah Rock" at the end of Side 2 is listed on the label, but not on the album sleeve). The original sleeve had a black and white photo (as pictured above) with a distinctive red die-cut inner sleeve - the reissue (explained below) had colour artwork but with a black inner sleeve (also used on the US issue). The album was recorded at Eden Studios in Acton in London in January 1979 and produced by ROGER BECHIRIAN.

Cashing in on the huge renewed response to their anthem "Teenage Kicks" - the album was reissued a second time in the UK as Sire Records SRK 6081 in November 1979 with a different front and inner sleeve and 2 added singles. "Teenage Kicks" was slipped in as Track 5 on Side 1 inbetween "I Gotta Get" and "Wrong Way", while the 2nd single "Get Over You" was added on as the 1st Track on Side 2 - making a 16-song version of the LP. The Sanctuary issue of 2008 uses the 16-track line-up rather than the original 14. Of course with a little bit of number programming, the new Salvo issue allows you to program either.

Tracks 15 to 18 are the full 4 songs of their debut "Teenage Kicks" EP issued on the privately pressed Good Vibrations Label (GOT 4) in September 1978 - produced by the band themselves. None of the songs turned up on the debut LP and it has remained a highly sought-after and collectable vinyl piece ever since. (This CD actually mistakes the track order - it should read - A1 is "Teenage Kicks", A2 is "Smarter Than You', B1 is "True Confessions", B2 is "Emergency Cases")

Tracks 19 to 21 are the 3 tracks of their 2nd maxi single "Get Over You" issued on Sire Records SIR 4010 in January 1979 in the UK. "Really Really" and "She Can Only Say No" are the B-sides and again all 3 songs were non-album.

Tracks 22 to 24 are their 4th UK single "Here Comes The Summer" b/w "One Way Love" and "Top Twenty". It was another maxi release, however, the 'single version' on the A-side differs to the version than ended Side 1 of the LP - while the 2 B-sides were again non-album.

Track 25, "Mars Bars", is the non-album B-side to their 3rd UK 7" single "Jimmy Jimmy" issued on Sire Records SIR 4015 in April 1979 (on lime green vinyl).

Tracks 26 and 27, "You've Got My Number (Why Don't You Use It)" b/w "Let's Talk About Girls", are also non-album tracks - their 5th UK 7" single on Sire Records SIR 4024 issued in September 1979 in the UK.

Tracks 29 to 31 are live John Peel Sessions recorded for the BBC at the Phoenix Studios on 7 May 1979

Track 32 is a video track from 1978 of "Teenage Kicks" (filmed in Primrose Hill in London)

As you can see, this new Salvo issue (SalvoCD017) has 31 audio tracks plus 1 video track tagged on at the end - the 2008 Sanctuary issue of last year has only 26 audio tracks. There's also a new card wrap outside the jewel case using the original LP artwork, a 20-page booklet which pictures ticket stubs, buttons, 7" sleeves and band photos - and there's detailed and witty liner notes by their bass player MICHAEL BRADLEY. The remastering has been done by ANDY PIERCE at Masterpiece and is fantastically clear, really clean and in your face. As a downside, it would have been nice to hear more from either their great frontman and singer FEARGAL SHARKEY or especially JOHN O'NEILL - the band's principal songwriter.

While the album itself is a blast, what puts this issue into the stellar is the truly brilliant 17 extra tracks - stunning power-pop B-sides like "One Way Love" and "Let's Talk About Girls". And the four Peel Sessions tracks allow you to hear just how piss'n'vinegar they really were as a live act (I wish I'd seen them).

And then of course there's 'that' song - every time I hear The Undertones blistering debut 45 "Teenage Kicks", I can't help but think of the much-loved and sadly missed champion of Punk and New Wave music - the British DJ and Presenter JOHN PEEL. He adored the band with a passion and the hand-written lyrics to "Teenage Kicks" are framed in his home and literally etched above his final resting place (he was the first to air the song in September 1978). Ten seconds into its thrashing riff it's easy to know why - it's thrilling - it's ballsy - it's life itself - and it's as fresh now as is was back then - a full 30 years ago.

Derry's finest are held in huge affection by so many music lovers and not without reason. I loved returning to this album, I really did.

"I wanna hold her, wanna hold her tight...get teenage kicks right through the night..." Too Goddamn right!
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on 15 August 2003
I have to admit I bought this album for 'Teenage Kicks' and the summer classic 'Here Comes the Summer' but what I got was so much more than I expected. The tunes are so catchy that one listen of 'Top Twenty' will have it running though your head for days. The Undertones have a raw sound about them, some of the songs seem almost unfinished or underdeveloped (many of the tracks are under two minutes) but they sound good and in a world of formulated 'perfect' pop its actually quite refreshing.

Other tracks to listen out for are the Beatlesesque (or is it more like the Monkees?) 'One Way Love', the excellent 'Mars Bars' and the "I swear I've heard this one before from somewhere" 'You've Got My Number (Why Don't You Use It!)'.

*Update*

First of all I have to point out that my review is for the 26 track version of this album released in 2000 by Essential/Castle Music Ltd (ESMCD 831). I have since become aware that there is now a 31 track(2 CD)version been released by Salvo Music Ltd (SALVOCD017). The version I have has the same track listing as the version re-released by Santuary in 2004.

The extra 5 tracks you get in the 2009 2 CD Salvo version are:

Here Comes The Summer (Single Version)
Top Twenty (Peel session)
Nine Times Out Of Ten (Peel session)
The Way Girls Talk (Peel session)
Whizz Kids (Peel session)

And you get the "Teenage Kicks" video as part of the enhanced CD feature.

I did my review way back in 2003 and I stand by it. The Undertones debut album really is fantastic no matter which version you choose to buy. The B-sides are a must have and the follow up album "Hypnotised" is brilliant too.

Overall 5 out of 5. Great Stuff!
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on 18 September 2001
It is a very good album which is vital for any true punks collection. Maybe it scrapes the boundary between Punk and Pop. However many punks would find this a very interesting crossover which today is done very poorly. eg. New Found Glory. They weren't to change for anybody and as many described them they were anti-fashion. With tracks such as the classic Teenage Kicks and other songs which anyone can sing along too it is impossible to put to the bottom of your record collection.
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on 9 March 2016
The Undertones First Band I Ever See Live1979 Marquee Club Wardour Street London ., With John Peel Spinning Some Discs, What A Night.
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good gun Band at the time when I MY SELF was 17 .not my thing but good. for the young people who never got into the Harvey // see the time was spot on for the lads BUT NEVER WAS GOING TO BE THE CLASH OR PISTOLS AND THE PINS .THANKS FOR THE TIMES OF 1976_77 BEST TIME OF OUR LIFE. ) FROM BILLINGHAM TEESSIDE DICKIEMINT FRIEND OF S L F
???
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on 11 January 2006
Man, I have loved the UNDERTONES since, I'm not sure, about 1980 or so. They played once in San Diego, 1981 I think. I had to work late but I sent several relatives and friends and they all said it was like a BEATLES concert (ok, mini) in that the people were all into it and happy and jumpin' around.
There's nobody like this band. Pure power pop. Well written pop songs with strong guitars and that quirky Fergal Sharkey vocal. You gotta get over that or you just can't like this band. Their first two albums, this and Hypnotised, are classic UNDERTONES. And the bonus trax which include non-lp singles (and more?) fit right in with these first two albums. I don't come to this band from the pop part, I come to them from their punk association. Many U.S. punx I've known over the years don't consider them to be punk at all because they're nothin' close to hardcore. And, in fact, they proudly have that pure pop sound. Course, their lyrical content continues to fascinate me given they were a Northern Ireland band and could, obviously, have had very political lyrics. Instead we get some of the greatest teen/love/yearning lyrics with strong guitars in very strongly musically written songs.
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on 11 November 2003
what else can u about pure 3 minute pop perfection. the undertones were masters of the classic 3 minute pop perfection.although sharkey was singled out the sheer musicianship and song writing talents of the other 4 members should not be underestimated this is a masterpiece and an essential addition to any record collection
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