Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Undertones

  • The Undertones [Sire, 1979] B+
  • Hypnotised [Sire, 1980] A-
  • Positive Touch [Harvest, 1981] B+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

The Undertones [Sire, 1979]
Nice lads, nice lads--suddenly the world is teeming with nice lads. I like their punky speed and adolescent authenticity, but I'd prefer the reverse--among adolescents these days the speed takes care of itself, while finding something besides teendom to write about is a problem. B+

Hypnotised [Sire, 1980]
From the opening chorus--"Here's more songs about chocolate and girls/It's not so easy knowing they'll be heard"--the good-kids-of-the-year are as honest as power pop (remember power pop?) ever gets. They're also as powerful, which I bet has something to do with why they're so honest. The improved melodies have something to do with why it's not so easy any more. A-

Positive Touch [Harvest, 1981]
"Here's more songs about chocolate and girls/It's not so easy knowing they'll be heard"? No, that was last time. Here's still more, and it's even harder--not being sure whether they'll be heard or not (at least in the land across the sea) is worst of all. Nevertheless, the boys are equal to the task--just about every one of the fourteen is catchy and felt. Almost inevitably, though, the arrangements are a little fancier, to no special avail, and the same goes for the subjects. Good luck, lads. B+