Teenage Fanclub - Here album review

Tenth album from Scottish jangle-rock veterans

Teenage Fanclub Here album cover

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Of the two surviving Creation bands, Primal Scream are addicted to change, whereas Teenage Fanclub are endlessly consistent (My Bloody Valentine, for whom hiatus is a semi-permanent state, don’t count). They’re the Big Star who didn’t get ruined by drugs or reach their Sister Lovers stage and instead kept making their #1 Record. Yes, they had their moment – 1991’s Bandwagonesque was famously album of the year in Spin, ahead of Nevermind – but their 27-year career hasn’t been about peaks and troughs but maintaining a steady path.

Eschewing the sound of Now, they were torchbearers for the classic. That remains true on this, their follow-up to 2010’s Shadows. As ever a showcase for democracy, it comprises 12 songs, three apiece by Norman Blake, Raymond McGinley and Gerard Love. Mortality is evidently a concern for all three as they approach or exceed 50, and the word ‘life’ appears with alarming frequency, but there’s a mordancy balancing out the mellifluous melodicism.

The gorgeous descending chord sequences are intact (see I’m In Love), as are the breezy ascending harmonies (It’s A Sign). Yes, there’s a curlicue of Krautrock on With You and motorik propulsion to I Was Beautiful When I Was Alive, but mainly this is Byrdsian business as usual. If you want progression, look elsewhere. Here is ‘just’ another routinely radiant TFC album.

Teenage Fanclub on being the second-best band in the world

Paul Lester is the editor of Record Collector. He began freelancing for Melody Maker in the late 80s, and was later made Features Editor. He was a member of the team that launched Uncut Magazine, where he became Deputy Editor. In 2006 he went freelance again and has written for The Guardian, The Times, the Sunday Times, the Telegraph, Classic Rock, Q and the Jewish Chronicle. He has also written books on Oasis, Blur, Pulp, Bjork, The Verve, Gang Of Four, Wire, Lady Gaga, Robbie Williams, the Spice Girls, and Pink.