The Undertones, Positive Touch
Following the giddy punk-pop delights of the band's eponymous debut (which IMNSHO far outshines the entire recorded history of the Ramones by the end of side 1), Ireland's criminally underrated Undertones matured at an alarmingly fast and commercially disastrous rate. The cover art for their second album, Hynotised, and its leadoff track, "More Songs About Chocolate and Girls", solidified the band's clownish image but obscured growing songcraft and an assured sense of production and arrangements. For me, however, the band reached its peak on album #3 with the bubblegum psychedelia of Positive Touch, a peak so high that most pop fans, including Undertones fans, cannot appreciate its majesty to this day. This album's all about the nooks and crannies; apply butter and check it out for yourself! If you can score an original vinyl copy, that's the way to go: the textured cover and inner sleeve fascinate me to this day. The band's swan song, The Sin of Pride, saw the infusion of hair gel, puffy shirts, and slick '80s soul. Although a few songs cut through the sheen, the album failed to make its mark in the dawn of '80s synth-pop and the attrocities to follow.