The Undertones, The Undertones (1979)
Ireland's Undertones took the poppier side of early punk bands like the Buzzcocks, sanded off some of the rougher edges while super-sizing the hooks and pairing it with a propulsive drumbeat nicked from the Ramones, and took it to the beach. (Ok, maybe they channel the Beach Boys just a little bit.) The result is more than a dozen songs that barely hit the two-minute mark, just enough time to squeeze out oodles of high-energy, hooky pop-punk ditties about girls and cars and summer and girls.
The secret weapon is of course singer Feargal Sharkey, whose distinctive vibrato sounds like Luciano Pavarotti trying to imitate Johnny Rotten (or maybe vice versa). While Sharkey's unique sound adds color to the simple tunes, the band does a surprisingly polished job of setting it off against the rest of the band's more traditional harmonies.
I'm constantly surprised that the Undertones never got a little more love, as the incessant, catchy guitar riffs lend themselves to being tackled by an enthusiastic cover band (my college band played "I Know A Girl," with Charlie doing his best spin on Sharkey's vox stylings).
This one demands being played in a car with the windows down; nothing else can really do it justice.
Start your sunny day with "Get Over You":
Buy it on Amazon (alas, the original Rykodisc remaster which tacked on a bunch of b-sides -- some of which, like the perfect pop of "Really Really," surpassed the album -- is no longer available, so you should definitely spring for a singles compilation as well).