The Undertones

Teenage Kicks: The Best of the Undertones

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Seeing as how there are only four Undertones albums, and fully three of them are brilliant, the fourth, 1982's The Sin of Pride, is a misguided attempt to recast the group as slick and soulful dance-poppers, but even it sounds pretty good in comparison to singer Feargal Sharkey's positively wretched solo albums from the mid-'80s, it's really silly not to simply buy them all. However, the cautious newcomer might want to check out the U.K. compilation Teenage Kicks: The Best of the Undertones, a smartly chosen mix of singles and album tracks that shows that even in their noisier early days, as demonstrated by the title track and "Get over You," two of the finest singles of the post-punk era, this Northern Ireland quintet were among the canniest pop songwriters of the era. The hooks in these choruses are undeniable, and guitarists John and Damian O'Neill were able to create unforgettable hooks even out of a measly two or three notes. The set traces their development into more sophisticated, adult pop, culminating in the excellent 1981 effort The Positive Touch, before losing the thread with the aptly titled The Sin of Pride. Essential for newcomers, but redundant for fans, who already have all these songs.

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