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Positive Touch

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Album Review

By this time, The Undertones had switched labels and recorded a challenging, slightly arty record that didn't sound much like their first two, and showed an amazing artistic development. There are musical elements not on the previous recordings (horns, Paul Carrack's keyboards); still, the band's creativity, intelligence and personality make this a tremendously rewarding record. Not where one unfamiliar with the 'Tones should start (get that guitar rush first), but once under their spell, Positive Touch will become almost as important as the first two albums. Reissued on CD with four bonus tracks by Rykodisc in 1994.

Customer Reviews

get it!

this is a sorely overlooked album from the 'tones. Fans were looking for another Teenage Kicks, or Hypnotised. The review above says it all. This album is loaded with intelligent pop, and it still holds up today. If you are unfamiliar with the band, by all means check out their earlier work. But do not pass on this album, no matter what your musical tastes!

A Triumph of Minimalism

This album seems to hold up the best of all Undertones albums. It's amazing how much wierdness they wrench out of a few chords and instruments. The title track, for example, seems to gallop like a bluegrass tune mixed with surf-style guitar overlaid with the lyrics "What you thought was strange is fascination. Yesterday it rained all day long." Simple stuff that, but mixed together it sounds like a science experiment gone horribly ... right! In that respect, it's like Pet Sounds with all the extraneous stuff chopped out. And much happier and goofier.

Granted the album is not the most user-friendly. But it rewards repeated listens, as my friend and I found out when we borrowed this album from the library about a zillion times. It's too bad you can't get the bonus tracks from the re-release several years ago - seek them out if you can.

Five Star (once more).

Okay, so it's not exactly the same as what you heard before. But that's the point. It's like they finally got enough money from their last successes to buy a synthesizer, and they are GOING to use it!
No drugs, but too much tea perhaps: this album does dip into late-sixties-feel psychedelia in 'Forever Paradise'. Sharkey's voice makes this transition seamless. That man is a perfect example of the benefits that joining a school choir can give you. (And of course, he'll want you to buy this album, not pirate it off the internet, though cheaper.)
If you want to buy just one song from this album, make it 'When Saturday Comes'. A steady drumbeat and rough vocal assure the repeat button will be hit over and over again.
Though not one of the most popular or best rated of the Undertones' albums, it's certainly worth a listen or ten. It's a positive touch indeed.


Formed: November, 1975 in Derry, Northern Ireland

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The Undertones slam-bang punk-pop drew its strength from one simple fact: you didn't need a secret handshake to enjoy it. John and Damian O'Neill mated infectious guitar hooks to '60s garage, '70s glam rock, and Feargal Sharkey's signature vocal quaver. Those qualities came together on their breakout hit "Teenage Kicks," whose simplicity harked back to '60s ideals of when the song was king. The Undertones formed in Derry, Northern Ireland, in 1975. However, they avoided references to their hometown's...
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