Monday, April 20, 2020

With Hypnotised The Undertones deliver another thrilling album

The Undertones : Wednesday Week

On April 21, 1980 The Undertones released their second album, Hypnotised. Mostly recorded at Wisseloord Studios in the Netherlands, where Elvis Costello and the Attractions had just finished Get Happy!!, Hypnotised might even top the self-titled debut in inventiveness, energy and using the word "girl" in song titles. Smash Hits' David Hepworth gave the album 9/10 writing:

This was going to be called "Fifteen Rockin' Humdingers" and that says it all. Without sacrificing an ounce of attack they've started to widen their range, putting together stronger songs and, in addition to covering The Drifters' masterpiece "Under The Boardwalk, they offer their own perfect sad love song "Wednesday Week" which proved conclusively that Feargal Sharkey is the finest natural singer to come out of punk. The Undertones make everybody else look like they're playing charades in a shop window.

On the Undertones website bass player Michael Bradley says 1980 was the best year the band ever had. They toured Europe, America and the UK Twice.

It was an extended childhood, being in the Undertones. There was the time I phoned up the New Musical Express, the music paper, pretended to be our press agent and told them Billy Doherty had been killed - run over by a bus in Derry - I said this with Billy standing beside me, in O'Neill's house, laughing. Next thing we know, a DJ on Radio One, Kid Jensen, is saying how sorry he was to learn of the death of the Undertones drummer, Billy Doherty. Our manager, sitting in England, heard this - he immediately rang O'Neill's - not to find out what happened to Billy, but which one of us had made up the story. Eventually the truth got out that it was a hoax, but we never got the blame. It was stated, by our real press agent, that an anonymous person had made the call.

In America, where Sire Records distributed Hypnotised, the album got rave reviews from Robert Christgau of the Village Voice:

From the opening chorus--"Here's more songs about chocolate and girls/It's not so easy knowing they'll be heard"--the good-kids-of-the-year are as honest as power pop (remember power pop?) ever gets. They're also as powerful, which I bet has something to do with why they're so honest. The improved melodies have something to do with why it's not so easy any more. ( A-)

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