Scotland - Full Moon 246 - 09/16/16
PeMa / Merge
Numerous 40-to-50-year-old guitar-pop-rock-fans worldwide (the 'Teenage Fancub fan club', that is) have been awaiting Here as an early Christmas gift. Well, Christmas came early this
year - and the summer has been prolonged! - as Teenage Fanclub just launched their 10th studio album proper (including their jokeish 1991 record, The King, but not counting their Jad
Fair collaboration Words of Wisdom and Hope, 2002). Go TFC! Do what you can the best!
"I'm In Love" sets the standard as a trademark TFC pop (love) song, by one the three songswriters, Norman Blake. Blake (vocals, guitar), Raymond McGinley
(vocals, lead guitar), and Gerard Love (vocals, bass) share the song writing duties in a most democratic way, as they've done for the last four albums! Twelve songs in total, 4 songs each.
TFC can never tread wrong, it seems. I enjoyed Shadows (2010), even though it's not my favourite. I really liked Man-Made
(2005). Howdy! (2000) was also good, but Songs From Northern Britain (1997) was even better. Probably, but maybe not. I'd
better go back through their catalogue once more. However, when Here spins and unveils its songs, I get more and more satisfied. Blake, McGinley, and Love - along with their band mates
Francis MacDonald (drums) and Dave McGowan (keyboards) - create their kind of music with precision and style. Neat harmonies, elegant guitar solos - or guitar playing in general ("I Have
Nothing More to Say", "It's a Sign" and "The First Sight" to name but a few), delicate arrangements (including some discreetly performed strings and horns). They have all turned 50 (?), but
that's no problem, right? Right!? TFC make timeless music rooted back to the 60s and 70s, with bands like Byrds and Big Star. Classic, poppy guitar rock. Some songs are on the brighter side,
some are darker - some are of the more 'serious' kind (such as Blake's "The Darkest Part of the Night", Loves' "I Have Nothing More to Say", and McGinley's "I Was Beautiful When I Was Alive").
"Hold On" could be a 'sequel' to "Hang On" (from Thirteen, 1993) while "It's a Sign" could be a 'follow up' to "Star Sign" (off Bandwagonesque, 1991). All in all, Here
is another fine record from Scotland's finest, holding well-crafted songs, which are easy to sway and to dream yourself away to. TFC make an excellent unit. To quote Merge, the band's performance
is an 'almost telepathic musicianship.' Enjoy the near perfect pop chime of TFC.
PS! Even though the UK went for a most surprising Euro Brexit this summer, Here is a real Euro production as it was recorded in rural Provence, France, at Raymond's home studio in
Glasgow, and was mixed in the heart of Hamburg, Germany. Even though it has been six years since their last album, the boys have been busy working with other side projects: Norman Blake has
recorded as the duo Jonny along with Euros Childs of Gorky's Zygotic Mynci (TFC player Dave McGowan also played on Jonny's self-titled 2011 debut album).
Blake has also co-formed a Scot-Canadian-based super group with Joe Pernice (of Pernice Brothers) and Mike Belitsky (another Pernice player, as well as being the drummer for The Sadies, Neko
Case, and others) called The New Mendicants (who put out their first album Into the Lime in 2014). Raymond McGinley joined McGowan's folk group project Snowgoose (who released their
debut album Harmony Springs in 2012). Last but not least, Gerard Love released his indeed fine solo album Electric Cables in 2012, under the moniker
Copyright © 2016 Håvard Oppøyen