While U.K. bands raged about guns in the streets, Northern Ireland was nurturing a bunch of acts who wanted nothing more than to play pop songs about girls. Belfast, a city whose youth grew up under the gun, produced a whole string of pop-punk bands in the late '70s, most of them under the auspices of Terri Hooley's Good Vibrations label. Among their number were Protex, Rudi, the Xydreamysts, and the Moondogs, who even had their own after-school series on British TV. Head and shoulders above the pack was the Undertones. Guitarist John O'Neill's written-in-stone hooks and Feargal Sharkey's quavering choirboy delivery made a masterpiece of their debut single "Teenage Kicks". Veteran British DJ John Peel proclaimed it his favorite song of all time, elevating it onto the pop charts. The exuberant material the band pumped out for its Peel radio sessions (later gathered on record) proved "Teenage Kicks" was no one-off. Bursting with brief songs, buzzsaw guitars and big choruses ( think Ramones plus Irish conviction), The Undertones enshrined teenage cliches with the same fervor that U.K. hardcore combos used to foam about anarchy. Perfectly capturing a worldview that extends from hanging out in the schoolyard to hanging out in the city streets, the album is pretty much dud-free. And no collision between pop and punk ever produced more ecstatic results than "Get Over You".


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