By The Undertones
Let's not delay in stating the obvious; The Undertones were, and indeed are, a fantastic band, whose influence lives on to this day; you can hear echoes of their early pop-punk work in any number of bands today. Opening up with 'Teenage Kicks', their first and most celebrated single, is a strong move; if ever there was a song to define this band, it would be 'Teenage Kicks', a song that was so well received it became late DJ John Peel's favourite song of all time, following his legendary back-to-back playing of the track in 1978. However, The Undertones have more to offer than just one hit. Songs like 'True Confessions', 'Here Comes The Summer' and 'My Perfect Cousin' are equally enjoyable nuggets of new-wave, and should anyone be looking for a soundtrack to their perfect summer they should look no further than this CD.
However, whereas The Undertones may not be a one-hit wonder, they are something of a one-trick horse. Of the 32 songs on here, there are few deviations from their trademark sound; this in itself is no bad thing- AC/DC have done it for nearly 40 years- but there's too many similar-sounding songs on here for one sitting; this is a collection best sampled at length as opposed to in one sitting. Having said that, punk rock was never a genre known for its experimental side. The Undertones might only have written one style of song, but it was a formula that was rock solid, reliable and produced all the right results.
One of the things that is most heartening about this release is the presence of the B-sides. Whereas these days the B-side is practically extinct, in years gone by they were a vital component of any single. However here they make a strong appearance, not just in number but in consistency; songs like 'Mars Bars' or 'One Way Love' hold their ground against the heavyweights on here and are better songs than many bands get to pen in a lifetime. This, more than anything, should instill a listener's faith in The Undertones- what they lack in diversity is more than made up in consistency, and many of today's bands would kill for even a shred of the originality shown on this release.
In short, although this Greatest Hits may be slightly overwhelming for anyone who isn't a diehard fan of the band, it contains all the essential songs needed to win over practically anyone with ears. This release deserves not only to be appreciated, but respected; The Undertones live on, and for that we should be grateful.