Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Sin of Pride
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, R&B, Rock
2006 reissue of the fourth and final album by the original line-up, released in 1983. Now featuring a total of 10 bonus tracks and including the singles Got To Have You Back, The Love Parade and Chain Of Love. By this t... more »
2006 reissue of the fourth and final album by the original line-up, released in 1983. Now featuring a total of 10 bonus tracks and including the singles Got To Have You Back, The Love Parade and Chain Of Love. By this time, the band had abandoned their Ramones-style buzzsaw guitar approach for a mature psychedelic soulful pop sound. This album has often been called one of the most overlooked albums of it's time. Castle.
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John L Murphy | Los Angeles | 05/27/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The fourth and last Undertones album showed how much the band had progressed since their more Ramones-meets-Rollers debut. The pop-punk of Hypnotised on a representative track like "More Songs About Chocolate and Girls" and the experimental-pop of Positive Touch can be heard on Sin of Pride, but usually only in spurts. The bulk of this ambitious record documents the band's struggle to integrate Motown, soul, and R&B into their pop prowess. The results are mixed at best. When I heard the album on its release back in '83, I could not believe, if it wasn't for Feargal Sharkey's inimitable warble, that this was the same band.
The guitar trills are still heard, and the rhythm section's still spry. But Dee O'Neill's keyboards, as heard more prominently with the help of the clearer digital CD, fill in the gaps previously filled by more guitars and volume. Mike Hedges, replacing the Tones' previous stalwart Roger Becherian as producer, seems to want to leave less space in the mix; female background singers, all sorts of skronky and whirling effects, and layered backing vocals jostle for attention.
When released, this album stiffed. I was disappointed greatly by it. In retrospect, you can hear the soul cuts preparing the way for Feargal's brief solo career rather than the O'Neill brothers' return to guitar assault with That Petrol Emotion. Still, some of the songs kept burrowing into my mind for more than two decades on. Half of the original twelve cuts are catchy, even if only a couple of them have what for me made the 'Tones memorable: their way with a swaggering hook.
"Bye Bye Baby Blue" is the best, combining the new and the old sounds, and its lyric "the stains on my bed like the blemishes you made are all that remind me of you" illustrates how the band had progressed from "more songs about chocolate" to some less sweet, more bitter ones about girls. Feargal spits out the words with venom but tunefulness: no small feat. The lilt also invigorates the guitar twists spiralling in "Valentine's Treatment," with keys and guitar blending naggingly and winningly. I have to say even on many tracks I don't favor that the band manages to inject some sonic substance and texture, but the listlessness of many of the tracks sinks the momentum that the better songs deserved to have sustained.
The title track is a good example of one that half works, half does not. It did make for a poignant close to side 2 of the l.p., as I heard the band fade away and break up, so to speak, in the last grooves that recalled their happier earlier times. Their voices grow less audible as the record--and the band--comes to its last recorded end (on the original 12 tracks.) The largely downbeat lyrics are sometimes inscrutable, other times, as in this song, intelligent. Cliches are usually avoided by the still quite young songwriters, who in this band were three out of the five bandmembers in various solo or paired combos. A few Motown covers appear, none of them making you forget the originals. But, awful tracks like the listless "Love Before Romance," turgid "Soul Seven" and the unlistenable "Save Me" reveal that Derry's lads could not match Detroit's elders.
The remaining songs are often undistinguished and/or derivative. Hearing "Chains of Love" reminds me of Culture Club--I append this to note that CC stole the riff for the harmonica section of "Karma Chameleon" and not the other way around, credit to Seán Ó Neill and mates. Madness seems to inspire "Conscious." "Untouchable" more clearly shows the band's signature bounce, but's hobbled by a slick horn section. These types of songs may have been the band's (or producer's?) attempt to jump on the new-wave/New Romantic/dance club bandwagon that had begun to dominate British bands from around 1981 on for the first half of the decade. Marimbas, cello, female backing, synths: parts of the album sound very much 1983 as directed by a "hit" producer. Bonus tracks include the passable "Love Parade," one of their better attempts at soul-pop, but the rest are best for completists only, and many fans will have already heard these as B-sides, e.p. tracks, or on the singles compilations that preceded Rykodisc's reissues. A Sanctuary release in 2003 adds even more b-sides from the group's last year or so, and Ó Neill's retrospective liner notes."