Sun, Dec 21, 2003 - Page 19 News List

CD reviews

By Gavin Phipps  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Undertones
Get What You Need

Formed in Melbourne, Australia in 2000, four-piece combo Jet is a no-nonsense rock band that combines the off-center strut and garage sound of Aussie rockers AC/DC and Radio Birdman, with the glitzy 1970s smarts of the New York Dolls.

While this odd combination might sound like little more than a pompous over-the-top rock cliche, Jet is a band worth taking seriously -- very seriously in fact.

Comprising Cameron Muncey (guitar/vocals), brothers Chris Cester (drums) and Nic Cester (guitar), and Mark Wilson (bass), the combo made its long player debut last month with Get Born. Packed with 13 memorable and intelligent numbers, the album is a superb entrance.

Along with the memorable hooks and riffs, singalong choruses, handclaps and glam-rock styled beats, Jet has managed to fill in the gaps with blues tunes as well as ballads.

Tracks such as the catchy Rollover D.J., Get What You Need and Get Me Outta Here are raw and tight with the singalong feel of Cockney Rebel, albeit with Angus Young-styled breaks. Other numbers, like the country ballad Move On, have all the trappings of some of the early-1970s Rolling Stones.

Get Born is a great piece of work, but all Jet has done is steal all the right bits from all the right places from some embarrassingly kitsch and easily forgettable 1970s rock tunes and come up with a winner.

The UK got its first taste of John and Damian O'Neill's infectious guitar hooks and the equally contagious vocal quaver of Feargal Sharkey in 1978 after popular Radio One DJ John Peel began playing Teenage Kicks on his evening shows.

The tune became such a smash that a year later the Undertones were supporting the Clash on its first US tour. Unlike its politico punk cousins, there was no frustrated teenage angst to the band's catchy tunes. Instead it penned happy-go-lucky numbers that celebrated adolescence and in which it waxed lyrical about Mars bars, girls, the summer and Subbuteo table soccer.

Splitting up in the summer of 1983, it looked as if the world had seen the last of the natty dressers from Derry, Northern Ireland. Sharkey launched a thankfully short-lived solo career, while the O'Neills formed That Petrol Emotion.

Twenty-five years after the band released its self-titled debut the Undertones has made a remarkable return. And never mind that the band's members are now all in their mid-40s, the Undertones can still knock out an addictive tune. With Paul McLoone replacing Sharkey in the vocal slot, the Undertones comes out blazing with its Get What You Need -- an album made up of 13 fifth-gear melodies.

Unlike all too many comeback albums there's not one blooper on the entire Undertones' release. From the opener, Thrill Me, a fiery pop-rock number to the finale, Shut Down, a heavy bass infused slice of rock 'n' roll, the album is a solid effort. The most Undertones-of-old moment on Get What You Need, however, is Enough, a tune that reaps the same jerky guitar whirlwind of early Undertones classics such as Get Over You.

Dwelling in a world of impetuous musical contrasts and contradictions Manchester-based downbeat duo Lamb was one of the first groups to add moody vocals to early UK jungle-based productions in England.

All of which made its songs far more musically complex than its contemporaries, such as the Sneaker Pimps and Mono.

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