Their best album, a great one!
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Their earlier efforts, though more highly praised by critics, seem pretty juvenile nowadays, while this neglected album shines more brightly than ever. Lots of good pop songs and melodies, though the version of Julie Ocean is too short, as the Undertones themselves realized - they did it again (and better) for the single."
Their best album
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Before the soul-heavy, dense "Sin of Pride," after the pop tunes of "Hypnotised" and the Ramones-like buzz of their debut album, this one fits perfectly as a pivot around which their other efforts align. The psychedelic swirl of "Julie Ocean," "Beautiful Friend," "It Happens All the Time" all gain clarity and punch on CD. The odd production only makes Fergal Sharkey's voice sound even more warbly, and the experimentation crammed into many of these three-minute gems makes this album stand the test of time, when much early-80s material from their contemporaries sounds very dated. This is the ideal album to start with."
A Touch too Much
Tim Brough | Springfield, PA United States | 10/11/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"By the time The Undertones got around to their third album, "Positive Touch," their world had completely changed. No longer a gang of teenaged scruffs, they'd moved into their twenties and were somewhat affluent pop stars. The drive and desires that would have them forever have singing about cars and girls were supplanted by the fact that they all had cars, girls and even were property owners. Out was the hunger to impress the babes, in was the desire to express the artist within.
"Positive Touch" is the result of that desire given run of the studio. While it certainly doesn't lack for great catchy songs, the band couldn't keep their impulses in check. As a result, "Life's Too Easy," a song that would have sounded great stripped to its basics is buried in a mish-mosh of bad piano and overwrought production. (Even the band must have figured that out, the single remix/bonus track sounds infinitely better.)
There are also the O'Neill brothers' forays into psychedelia, as witnessed by "Julie Ocean" and "Sigh and Explode." While interesting, it also began to show Feargel Sharkey's limitations as a vocalist even as his ambitions were starting to exceed his grasp. Sharkey really didn't have the chops to sing soulfully, although "You're Welcome" reaches pretty hard and almost succeeds. (As would his eventual unlistenable solo albums.)
If you want the kind of brilliant fast pop tunes that The Undertones provided on their first two albums, they're still here. Songs like "His Good Looking Girlfriend," "Boy Wonder" and "It's Going to Happen" still show that the Tones' had a knack for an ace hook. "Positive Touch" still holds a spot in my library (the overly dense "Sin Of Pride" never stayed), but I really can't rate it any higher than average. In this case, getting older got the better of The Undertones.