The Undertones

Cher O' Bowlies

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This nonsensically titled compilation was released in 1986, as a dual cash-in on both Feargal Sharkey's adult contemporary solo career and the O'Neill brothers' punkier return as That Petrol Emotion. Since EMI had already comprehensively covered the Undertones' career as singles merchants with 1983's excellent All Wrapped Up, Cher O' Bowlies wisely emphasizes the group's album tracks. (Even so, nine of the 20 tracks also appear on All Wrapped Up; two others, "True Confessions" and "Julie Ocean," appear in their original LP versions rather than the 7" takes on the earlier comp.) Still, although the album is a terrific collection that shows the group's maturation from bratty teenage bubblegum punks into skilled popsmiths with a knack for soul homages, there are no rarities here, and the tracks are probably better heard on their original four LPs. There's simply no reason for this album to exist.