One of the best music bloggers out there, Spinster's Rock, has been here before with his posting of the singles collections of such brilliant bands as Wire, Magazine and Siouxsie and the Banshees, but he's excelled himself with his decision to now post The Undertones singles in chronological order.
What makes the series such a must have is that - like with the previous bands he's featured on his blog - he's ripped the tracks from the original vinyl so you get all the crackles, scratches and warmth of A sides and B sides that have been played one hundred and forty three times at high volume on an old record player. (I'm projecting a bit here.)
I understand that there's a very strong argument for breaking out the software to polish up the sound on old tapes and records when you're converting them to mp3 or compact disc but when the music under the microscope is the best punk/pop from the golden years of 78-84? Nah, it's neither the time nor the place.
Spinster Rock's currently up to 'My Perfect Cousin' in his Undertones series on his blog but I hope he doesn't stop after he gets to 'Julie Ocean'. For reasons I don't fully understand, The Undertones (Mark I*) latter period gets short shrift from some critics and fans but their 1983 album, 'Sin of Pride', contains some of their strongest material.
I get it that it wasn't another 16 slabs of two minute garage/pop a la 'Teenage Kicks' and 'Get Over You' from just four and five years before but just because it was the case that The Ramones were their greatest inspiration when they first kicked off that didn't mean The Undertones had to follow in their heroes footsteps by reworking a variation of their first album for the next ten years.
The fan base and record sales seemed to diminish the further away they got from their original sound but if you haven't already done so, you should check out such Undertones tracks as 'The Love Parade', 'Love Before Romance', 'Valentine's Treatment' and their cover version of Smokey Robinson's 'Save Me' from that final album.
Briliant, brilliant tracks which reflected the maturity and concerns of four wonderful songwriters who'd moved on from boaking up another ten songs about Mars Bars and cheap polyvinyl jackets masquerading as leather jackets .
[The above pic courtesy of this rather excellent Undertones fan site.]