Reviews:: Teenage Fanclub Shadows

All too often when people discuss Teenage Fanclub they throw out quips that are little more than backhanded compliments or “sounds like” check-lists. To me though, consistent is the most cringe worthy. When people look at this band - one that’s been putting out solid LPs for almost two decades - any praise is always followed by slight disappointment that the Glasgow band (although Norman now lives in Canada) delivers nothing more steady stream of high quality power pop songs.


Rather than embrace the fact you can grab any TF record and instantly enjoy the floating guitar hooks while the subtle nuances the band offers sink in (the banjo on The Past for example), we feel the need to pick at the seams. I’m sure Shadows will ultimately be defined by middle of the road review - it’s good, but they used to show so much promise…. - instead of thinking that 48 minutes of pop music that doesn’t ask for anything more than our attention is a something worthy of just that.


TF have certainly aged - any youthful urgency has given way to warranted assuredness - but they’ve aged remarkably well. Shadows bubbles with a relaxed confidence and tracks like Baby Lee and Back of My Mind are an effortless combination (and after 20 years, maybe it is) of floating guitar hooks, banged out keys, completely natural harmonies and beautiful strings. Obviously certain songs could fit onto almost any of the previous records and even though TF still plays with the same familiar melodies, arrangements and textures, the subtle nuances and experimentation they add to the mix show that they are still growing as musicians and willing to take some risks. The beautiful piano work on Dark Clouds is the type of melancholic melody a band searches for its whole career, but for Teenage Fanclub, the song is just one of many standouts in a storied career.


Apparently, that is something to complain about? Sigh.

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MP3:: Teenage Fanclub - Baby Lee




This entry was posted on Thursday, May 27th, 2010 at 9:30 am and is filed under 2010, Music, Reviews, Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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