RCD 10295 Positive Touch
Produced by Roger Bechirian
Released on May 1981
Find it at GEMM
RCD 10295 cover
[high resolution scan]

I t should have happened: The Undertones overtaking the American market on the strength of “It’s Going To Happen.” But they were too tightly wound for American tastes. The tight Beatlesque harmonies and Feargal Sharkey’s vocals aligned them with Split Enz, positive praise in these parts. Had they slowed down the pace, released a few more You’re Welcomes, they might have gotten their I Got You moment. But there’s no point lamenting what might have been, since Positive Touch is a nearly perfect album. They’re the unsung heroes of the two-and-a-half minute pop song, unleashing all of their energy on songs like “Fascination,” “His Good Looking Girlfriend” and “I Don’t Know.” If “Nobody Takes Me Seriously” floats your boat, you’ll be positively flying with Positive Touch. Mind you, Feargal Sharkey’s tremulous falsetto is an acquired taste; imagine Tim Finn after ten cups of coffee. But they really are masters of creating a mood in a minimum of time, as on “When Saturday Comes” (which sounds more like The Stranglers than Split Enz) and the haunting “Forever Paradise.” Honestly, the bands that did get a break with their big single (The English Beat, Madness) had trouble making an album this consistently entertaining. Luckily, Rykodisc reissued this in the ‘90s with some extra bonus tracks. If you enjoy the music of Split Enz, Madness and The Stranglers, you owe it to yourself to hear Positive Touch. Songs like “Julie Ocean” and “It’s Going To Happen” have long enjoyed steady rotation on the radio in my head, and Positive Touch never fails to put me in a positive mood.

RCD 10295 back sleeve
RCD 10295 back sleeve


  1. FASCINATION    (J.J. O'Neill)    2:21
  2. JULIE OCEAN    (J.J. O'Neill)    1:46
  3. LIFE'S TOO EASY    (J.J. O'Neill/Michael Bradley/Damian O'Neill)    2:31
  4. CRISIS OF MINE    (J.J. O'Neill)    2:25
  5. YOU'RE WELCOME    (J.J. O'Neill)    2:44
  6. HIS GOOD LOOKING GIRLFRIEND    (J.J. O'Neill/Michael Bradley/Damian O'Neill)    2:36
  7. THE POSITIVE TOUCH    (J.J. O'Neill)    2:17
  8. WHEN SATURDAY COMES    (J.J. O'Neill)    2:50
  9. IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN!    (Damian O'Neill/Michael Bradley)    3:36
  10. SIGH & EXPLODE    (Damian O'Neill)    2:45
  11. I DON'T KNOW    (J.J. O'Neill/Damian O'Neill/Michael Bradley)    2:42
  12. HANNAH DOOT    (J.J. O'Neill)    2:50
  13. BOY WONDER    (Damian O'Neill/Michael Bradley)    2:06
  14. FOREVER PARADISE    (J.J. O'Neill)    3:05

    CD/CS reissue bonus tracks
  15. KISS IN THE DARK    (J.J. O'Neill/Michael Bradley)    2:30
  16. BEAUTIFUL FRIEND    (J.J. O'Neill/Michael Bradley/Damian O'Neill)    3:22
  17. LIFE'S TOO EASY (ALTERNATE VERSION)    (J.J. O'Neill/Michael Bradley/Damian O'Neill)    2:38
  18. FAIRLY IN THE MONEY NOW    (Tommy Tate & The Torpedoes)    2:34


MICHAEL BRADLEY -- bass guitar
DAMIAN O'NEILL -- guitar
JOHN O'NEILL -- guitar
Dick Blewett -- saxophone
Paul Carrack -- piano (1,3)
Neill King -- trumpet
Peter Boer -- engineer
Bush Hollyhead, NTA -- sleeve design
Mervyn Franklin -- group photograph
Rob Brimson -- photography of lollies
Alex Ogg -- liner notes

return to THE UNDERTONES discography

UK May 1981 Ardeck/EMI LP ARD 103  
US/CAN 1981 Harvest LP ST-12159  
JPN 1981 Ardeck/Toshiba EMI LP EMS-81431  
NET 1981 EMI LP 1A 062 64367  
UK May 1994 Dojo CDX/CSX DOJOCD/MC193 w. bonus tracks
US 1994 Rykodisc CDX RCD 10295 w. bonus tracks
UK February 27, 2006 Castle CDX SMRCD333 w. bonus tracks


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