- 30 Apr 21
More Songs From Northern Britain
Some music makes you want to take to the streets, brick in hand. Far too much music makes you frown, and fret for both future and present generations. But there is, thankfully, music that makes you grin like someone is going at you with a feather after your recent lobotomy. Teenage Fanclub have always firmly belonged in that category.
The departure of Gerry Love - one third of the statue-worthy song writing firm of Love, Blake, and McGinley - might have had us apostles worried, but as soon as the chords of ‘Home’ ring out to open this first Fannies album since 2016’s Here, members of the Teenage Fanclub, ahem, fan club can sit back and smile - and grin - contentedly because this is what we were waiting for. There are strummed, slightly overdriven electric guitars playing those big major and minor chords, another guitar giving it a bit of Neil Young doing Lou Reed, an organ propping things up at the back, harmony vocals for the chorus, and the whole thing gently glides past the seven-minute mark and sounds as warm as a mother's embrace while it's doing so. It wasn't broke, so they didn't fix it. Fan-tastic.
‘I’m More Inclined’ and ‘The Sun Won’t Shine On Me’ were the other two trailers for the album, the former with organ swells, a near-perfect guitar break and a Motown drum beat behind the chorus, the latter with what sounds like a harpsichord colouring a stately-paced ballad that could, in another dimension, have come from The Walker Brothers, as its title hints. The only problem is it’s too short. It's so beautiful and perfect, you'd nearly ask it to move in with you.
Even when the lyrics take a melancholy turn, as on ‘Everything Is Falling Apart’, or the tempo drops as on ‘The Future’ and the closing ‘Silent Song’, you’re still nodding your head, and melodies like the one in ‘Come With Me’ or the lovely ‘Back In The Day’ - the kind of tunes that a McCartney or a Wilson would have gladly pronounced a fair day's work - fill the room with fresh air. Can you still hear the ghosts of The Byrds and Big Star? Would George Byrne be hopping up and down? Yes, and what could ever be wrong with that?
Granted, they might not quite touch - although they're not far off - the unassailable genius of Bandwagonesque or Grand Prix, but Endless Arcade will more than do to be going on with. There's no wheel reinventing afoot, because a wheel is a wondrously rounded thing as is. What a great band they are.