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The Undertones – True Confessions: Singles = A’s + B’s

The Undertones, True Confessions

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

DERRY band The Undertones celebrate their 35th anniversary with a new double CD of their greatest ‘A’ and ‘B’ sides called True Confessions.

Headed up by their blistering first single Teenage Kicks, which has now sold over 8 million copies and been labelled John Peel’s favourite song ever, the album boasts 32 tracks and capably demonstrates how they were able to become one of the original punk rock acts.

In their prime, The Undertones were hugely significant in their native Northern Ireland and beyond, and an undoubted influence on melodic punk and rock ever since.

In addition to Teenage Kicks, they scored hits with the likes of Jimmy Jimmy, My Perfect Cousin and Here Comes The Summer at the turn of the 80s.

Their sound was very much built around sharp guitar hooks, a punk sensibility and raw vocals that spoke to many a disaffected youth.

Admittedly, it was slightly repetitive and didn’t really evolve much but it’s easy to hear where their influence continues to lie in many contemporary outfits, while the out and out hits speak for themselves.

Teenage Kicks is, of course, the seminal track and was never bettered by them (in our opinion) but there’s an energy and appeal surrounding songs like Emergency Cases, Here Comes The Summer and My Perfect Cousin that really does make the album worth a place in the collection of any punk rock fan.

What’s more, it also comes accompanied by a fascinating 16-page colour booklet, in which the band describe many of the inspirations behind the songs – from their Gary Glitter moment, Hard Luck, to their Simon & Garfunkel one (Bye Bye Baby Blue).

The observations are also refreshingly candid and often amusing, especially when commenting on the B-side that populate the second CD and the difficulty or awkwardness that accompanied making them.

To coincide with the release, The Undertones have just embarked on a set of 10 shows – the True Confessions Tour – which will call at most major cities over the month.

Download picks: Teenage Kicks, Here Comes The Summer, She Can Only Say No, Emergency Cases, My Perfect Cousin

Track listing:
CD1

  1. Teenage Kicks
  2. True Confessions
  3. Smarter Than You
  4. Emergency Cases
  5. Get Over You
  6. Really Really
  7. She Can Only Say No
  8. Jimmy Jimmy
  9. Mars Bars
  10. Here Comes The Summer
  11. One Way Love
  12. Top Twenty
  13. You’ve Got My Number (Why Don’t You Use It)
  14. Let’s Talk About The Girls
  15. My Perfect Cousin
  16. Hard Luck (Again)
  17. I Don’t Wanna See (You Again)

CD2

  1. Wednesday Week
  2. I Told You So
  3. It’s Going To Happen
  4. Fairly In The Money Now
  5. Julie Ocean
  6. Kiss In The Dark
  7. Beautiful Friend
  8. Life’s Too Easy
  9. The Love Parade
  10. Like That
  11. Got To Have You Back
  12. Turning Blue
  13. Bye Bye Baby Blue
  14. Chain of Love
  15. Window Shopping For New Clothes