Teenage Fanclub, Here

Matthew Voracek

Teenage Fanclub, Here [Merge Records]

The late-era albums from power-pop icons Teenage Fanclub have appeared every few years in our consciousness like a fond acquaintance. Your feelings about them are genuine and true. You hug, chat, remember some of those good times, and make plans to not let so much time pass. The music from these Glasgowians has always emitted that pleasant reminiscence. Those spot-on chords and warm vocal harmonies are as timeless as rock music itself. Yet the latest recording from Teenage Fanclub goes beyond pleasantries and faint nostalgia. The songs on Here have a lasting presence and, in congruence with the album title, are created with the criterion of appreciating here and now.

Those indelible hooks come straightaway on “I’m In Love”, a glowing ode to the present as well as the band’s influencers from their beginnings thirty years ago. Big Star and Badfinger riffs ring forth with gleaming cheer as the lyrics live only for this moment. As the track’s lead vocalist Norman Blake states “We will fade into history”, recognize that these are not the words of a disgruntled aging songwriter, but of someone still energized by his surrounding world.

Teenage Fanclub’s attention to detail and joy of their craft spreads over Here like sunlight. These experienced gents are meticulous throughout the album, with each track stepping forward and deserving of attention rather fading away as background filler. Strings lift tracks like “The Darkest Part of the Night” into importance and weave in aptly with an inspired guitar solo. “I Have Nothing More To Say” adds subtle effects that nestle into the affectionate acoustic strumming. Even when the songs on Here look to the past, they are never caught longing for how things were. Instead, the verses act as an example for how to learn and grow from those moments gone by.

The golden tones found on “Connected To Life” bring the Teenage Fanclub’s au courant theme to close by capturing moments aglow with abidance. Under a vibrant hum, Blake intones about being “born into mystery” and approaches his limited days on this earth with a wide-eyed enthusiasm. It speaks to a maturity and acceptance that aging musicians struggle to accept. Bands of a certain tenure tend to revel in their better days while chastising today’s sounds and their younger fans. Teenage Fanclub took a different path early, never been interested in trying to recreate the ascending grandeur they achieved on Bandwagonesque. If they did, we would have never been able to follow the increasingly elegant path that led them to Here. Teenage Fanclub’s tenth album is more than a high point for a practiced group of musicians. It celebrates the humbling accomplishment of still being vital contributors to music today.

Here is available now.

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