...'like the Beatles, only with bad complexions and no girlfriends'.
Daryl Easlea 2007
As a brand, The Undertones – a group once described as 'like the Beatles, only with bad complexions and no girlfriends' – have become something of a national institution of late, thanks in the main to the premature passing of the patron saint of their premium platter, Teenage Kicks. John Peel sure did love that record, and since 2004 it has taken on a complete and utter life of its own, a dewy-eyed memory for millions of fans mourning the loss of not only their favourite DJ, but also the loss of their youth.
The Undertones, the band themselves, have been basking in their pristine pop reputation since their reformation in 1999. With four original members intact and relatively recent addition Paul McLoone on vocals, the group may have struggled to break out of nostalgia corner yet they thoroughly rock it live. Following 2003's tentative Get What You Need, Dig Yourself Deep is a work that can be mentioned in the same breath as their earlier greats. A proper old-fashioned 'record', it packs in 14 songs in just under 33 minutes and plays on the group's inherent strengths, taut, densely melodic rock, embracing the past yet focussed on the future. The title track is brim full of hooks and a great addition to their canon, while the rhythmic "Fight My Corner" nods towards the O’Neill Brothers’ other great act, "That Petrol Emotion". Were it released by The Twang, this album would garner a great deal more press and airplay.
Dig Yourself Deep is a very pleasant surprise. It possesses all the hallmarks of Derry's finest: brevity and panache under a wall of noise.