Wednesday, May 20, 2009

THE UNDERTONES: [1981] Positive Touch [Rykodisc]
The Undertones' third album is a marked departure from the speedy pop-punk of their first two. The Buzzcocks-derived ramalama is almost entirely gone, replaced by a more varied and softer instrumental palette that features new textures like piano (courtesy of Paul Carrack, then in Squeeze) and trumpet. Oddly, the new arrangements, when mixed with Feargal Sharkey's tightly wound vocals, have the effect of actually increasing the tension. Even tender, largely acoustic tunes like the lovely "Julie Ocean" have an undercurrent of anxiety, and faster tracks like the pounding opener "Fascination" and the near-paranoid "His Goodlooking Girlfriend" are downright nerve-wracking. The combination is best heard in the panicky "Crisis of Mine" and the sardonic "Life's Too Easy," two of the album's better tracks, but even the buzzy "Hannah Doot," one of the few songs that sounds like it would fit on the Undertones' earlier albums, is enhanced by the nervy production. The Rykodisc reissue adds four bonus tracks, including a less-interesting early version of "Life's Too Easy."... by Stewart Mason, All Music Guide

tRaCk lIsTiNg
1. fascination
2. julie ocean
3. life's too easy
4. crisis of mine
5. you're welcome
6. his good looking girlfriend
7. the positive touch
8. when saturday comes
9. it's going to happen!
10. sigh & explode
11. i don't know
12. hannah dot
13. boy wonder
14. forever paradise
15. kiss in the dark
16. beautiful friend
17. life's too easy
18. fairly in the money now
19. bonus track
** Rykodisc

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