Teenage Fanclub -‘Shadows’ (Pema)
This year marks twenty years since the release of Teenage Fanclub’s seminal debut single ‘Everything Flows.’ At the time they were seen as being the bright young things; and famous fans included none other than Kurt Cobain. They’ve tasted chart success and critical adulation -but how are things as we find them on their latest LP?
Well, Teenage Fanclub started off as a marriage of Dinosuar Jr. and Big Star, but from 1995’s Grand Prix onwards, they substituted Dinosaur Jr for Neil Young. The days of the band rocking out or producing a song as insane as ‘Satan’ (from 1991’s awesome Bandwagonesque) seem to be long behind them. That’s not to say that their best days are behind them; they still pack a mighty punch live and I’d be willing to bet that the aforementioned Kurt Cobain would not be rewriting ‘Teen Spirit’ nineteen years later, were he still with us today (sigh).
By now you’ve probably (or at least hopefully) heard ‘Baby Lee’ which has been doing the rounds for a few months across the blogs. It’s classic Fanclub and another worthy addition to their cannon, and there’s certainly quite a few more great songs on here, like opener ‘Sometimes I Don’t Need To believe In Anything.’ But the feeling persists that whilst this is certainly a fine collection of songs, and they do deserve their status in not only the scottish music scene and beyond…that this isn’t quite worthy of the heights they have scaled in the past.
Is it worth hearing? Most definitely. Is it worth owning? If you’re a Fanclub fan, sure. It is perhaps unlikely to win them legions of new fans.
Shadows is out now on PeMa.