Glasgow's Teenage Fanclub
has now been around long enough that they've become elder statesmen of a sort. (Yes, the name gets more and more ironic with each passing year.) However, I can report the band is absolutely firing on all cylinders on Shadows
, their tenth album. If you know this group, the sound of the album won't surprise. They're right in that jangly pocket that fits them so well. No club mixes. No drum loops. But when you're as good as these guys, why bother tinkering with a formula that allows you to still tour the world 20 years after your debut? Classic power pop, it is, with less distortion than in the old days. Still distilled from a 50-50 blend of Neil Young and The Byrds. But such comparisons probably do them a disservice. In truth, they simply sound like Teenage Fanclub at this point.
"Baby Lee" was the lead single from the record, and it's a classic Norman Blake track. It's all sunny melody, and chiming guitars, with more than a few hints of paternal pride in the lyrics. Norman is only one of three songwriters in this four-piece group, so the competition remains fierce to land songs on the band's records. That may be the secret to the sustained high-quality of their output. In any case, I am so pleased they're back.