Monday, September 19, 2016

Teenage Fanclub - Here

Yes, we will add more words about Here, the new album from Scotland's Teenage Fanclub.  The Fannies are a well known and deservedly loved band, so their releases -- less frequent at this point in their career -- draw a lot of attention.  So while we can't claim to have an exclusive feature or any 'new discovery' credit, or even first-to-publish rights, we are compelled to help celebrate the album.

Norman Blake, Gerard Love, and Raymond McGinley are the core and enduring members of the band.  But more importantly, they are the powerhouse engine room that makes Teenage Fanclub so special.  All three are expert songwriters and effective vocalists.  As a result, a Teenage Fanclub album typically will have contributions from all three, resulting in a 'no filler' record with trademark harmonies from musicians that have grown increasingly comfortable with melding their vocal talents.  And so it is with Here, the band's tenth studio album and first since 2010's Shadows.

Teenage Fanclub's work in the early '90s bore grunge and alt-rock influences, but soon transitioned to a brand of melodic power pop that still retained a bit of heaviness in the guitars.  Over time, the sound has jettisoned the grunge elements, and travels the power pop road.  But the result is in no respect generic.  Big Star may be the god father of power pop, but Teenage Fanclub has come to define the genre, and is the standard against which we measure other power pop recordings.  Based on the aural evidence on Here, this album finds the members of Teenage Fanclub, each of whom contributed four compositions to the album, relatively content.  The songs have a folky, singer-songwriter feel, and are focused on relationships and living in the moment.  Of course, when one addresses love and relationships, an honest take likely will be bittersweet and acknowledge challenges and limitations, and Teenage Fanclub has always been honest in their songwriting.  Nevertheless, the atmosphere on Here is light, and the tone hopeful.  The production is hushed and flowing, echoing the lyrical content.  If the press of life and the demands of their other projects means that Here will be the last Teenage Fanclub record for a while, we can be content for a long time with the 12 worthy gems comprising Here.

In addition to Love, Blake and McGinley, the band for Here included Francis Macdonald (drums) and Dave McGowan (keys).  The album is self-released in the UK, and is out now via Merge Records in North America.  The band will be playing limited North American dates in October (unfortunately, none out West); see the show list at the bottom of this post.

October North American Dates:
12 – Toronto
14 – Washington, DC
15 – New York, NY
16 – Brooklyn, NY
17 – Boston, MA
18 – Philadelphia, PA
20 – Cleveland, OH
21 – Chicago, IL
22 – Minneapolis, MN
23 – Madison, WI
25 – Detroit, MI

Merge Records page for Here

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