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It was The Undertones' 5-star pop/punk classic "Teenage Kicks" - a hit single in 1978 - that prompted me to check out this, their debut album.

Whilst the material certainly exudes the raw raucous energy of punk, it strikes me as a bit too one-dimensional - the lack of distinct and memorable melodies means that any one track sounds much like any of the others, and such a rudimentary approach was starting to sound decidedly passé by 1979.

In fact, The Undertones sound quite similar to The Ramones - a band who by this time had already been churning out this kind of stuff for three years - and The Undertones' music is similar, in that their material lacks variety, and is pretty much a case of 'once you've heard one track - really, you've heard them all'.

Still, I wouldn't place The Undertones in exactly the same ballpark as The Ramones, as their sound is somewhat denser and fuzzier than The Ramones ... rather, they're about halfway between The Ramones and Buzzcocks. It's just a pity they couldn't come up with more tunes on a par with that excellent one-off, "Teenage Kicks".

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Posted: Saturday 20th Apr 2019 9:38 AM

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album review
Unlike her 2006 album I See No Rain that I previously posted about, LiANA's debut album Glitters and Tumbles sees her supported by other musicians, such that - along with her electric piano - there's bass guitar, drums, and the odd bit of folky fiddle playin'.

Whilst the material benefits from being more developed / fleshed-out, it's LiANA's highly quirky vocals that continue to shape the overall sound of Glitters and Tumbles, and they remain something of an acquired taste, especially over the course of an entire album ...

Imagine the high-pitched castrato warbling of Bronski Beat's Jimmy Somerville on their hit single "Tell Me Why", combined with Tiny Tim's decidedly unique approach to singing, and that's pretty much what LiANA sounds like from start to finish here.

So like I say, LiANA is an acquired taste, but anyone who does succeed at getting on her wavelength will find that her songwriting here is fairly good. Sure, the album doesn't include any under-appreciated pop classics, but then there's no filler either, and a spot of electric piano always sounds good.

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Posted: Monday 22nd Apr 2019 2:09 PM

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