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the undertones – an anthology

true story part one

back in the late 70s my musical obsession was just kicking in via the ritual of top of the pops and my beloved itt cassette player. no hi fi set up this. oh no. the cassette player was one of those top loading players with a single lo-fi speaker in the top, and a bunch of heavy set buttons at the end which in order to record anything via the small inbuilt microphone you had to depress two of the buttons simultaneously and just pray the thing kicked into gear.

such basic technology meant that in those cash starved times, the only real option to get to hear music in my bedroom was to record tracks off the tv onto cassette, hence the need for top of the pops in those pre-mybeboface days

this ritual came into its own during the explosion of punk.

i didn’t have any real urge to wear safety pins, and nor did i understand the social revolution that the scene was supposedly causing, i just happened to like the odd track that jimmy saville et al introduced on a thursday night to the masses, and none more so, than the manic pop thrills by the undertones.

the bands simple but effective buzz guitar pop were ideal for a young’un just discovering the joys of music, girls, and pop. catchy lyrics about the troubles of everyday life, and references to cousins were rewound and played at max volume on a regular basis.

in short, the bands songs were a regular highlight during those dark times.

true story part two

fast forward 10 years.

a friend of mine hands over a wrapped cd for my 20th birthday.

i ask for a clue.

he says : "sweaters"

i reply : "the undertones"

he says : " ya bastard.”

now, i would never suggest that i was a loyal fan of the band as i never bought any of their albums as such, and nor did i particularly follow their progressions into new pop, but that run of early singles were truly fantastic, jimmy jimmy, my perfect cousin, and of course, john peel’s favourite record of all time the still perfect, teenage kicks, means that this excellently packaged 2 cd anthology is a cracking way to relive those not-so innocent times.

with heartfelt sleevenotes written by the band, rarely seen photos, and an extra cd of alternative versions/demos/live tracks, this is a wonderful way to celebrate one of irelands finest exports.

more detail : here