You Gotta Getta
Tim Brough | Springfield, PA United States | 10/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was a great blast of rock sugar from a bunch of teenage dreamers. They armed themselves with guitars, a DIY work ethic, and began bashing out three chord ditties about girls, cars, guys they were jealous of, girls and more girls. (And Mars Bars.) Whatever they may have lacked in experience, they more than made up for in exuberance. Feargel Sharkey had a voice that just boiled over with hormonal confusion and cockiness, and was so unique that no-one's matched him since. The rest of the band just tore into their instruments with all the speed that their systems' race through adolescent upheaval could keep up with. And while many slogged them off as non-political kids in punk's nihilist rage, The Undertones probably had a greater impact than most of the angry messengers of the era. Why, you may ask?
Because The Undertones inherently understood that "Teenage Kicks" and its never distant parallel of teenage pain never fade from the scope of human existence, but momentary anger of and rage at the times usually does. Well, then again, maybe they didn't at the time. But this music still means more today than most of, say, Stiff Little Fingers or Gang of Four's library. And let's face it, there was only one Clash. Seeing as most of The Undertones were under 18 at the time of their first album, "The Undertones" subject matter of "She's a Run Around" probably weighed in heavier on their lives than "Julie's In The Drug Squad."
It's that kind of joyous carousing that keeps "The Undertones" from ever once sounding like less than a rock and roll epiphany. My only real quibble is the cover art (I miss the colorful high angle shot; the drab picture used here siphons off the fun feeling of the album I originally owned). Along with the first three Ramones albums, The Undertones' first two albums are a cheering jolt of electricity from a period when you could still pick up a guitar and feel like you could say whatever was on your mind. Even if the priority topic was "Let's Talk About Girls."