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coverpic flag Scotland - Full Moon 169 - 06/26/10

Teenage Fanclub
Shadows
PeMa Records / Merge (US)

Shadows is TFC's 9th studio album (10th if we're counting the Jad Fair-collaboration record), and the Glaswegians have been in the game for more than 20 years. Norman Blake (vocals, guitar), Raymond McGinley (vocals, lead guitar), Gerard Love (vocals, bass) and Francis MacDonald (drums), still do what they can the best: to distillate the purest jangle, poppy, guitar rock songs this side of the axis between The Byrds, Neil Young, and Big Star.

Like always Gerard, Norman and Raymond share the songwriting (as well as lead vocals) duties equally between them. Shadows was released just as summer started (or was supposed to kick off) here in Northern Europe, and, well, even though the sun has let us down so far, the fine songs of Teenage Fanclub is here to radiate warmth and summer-feelings. Opener "Sometimes I Don't Need to Believe in Anything" (written by Love) kicks right off, and the right mood is set. This could've been a vintage TFC song. It's followed by "Baby Lee" (by Blake), which is even as nice and pretty as the opener. The third song out is "The Fall" (McGinley), which is a bit more moody and blue, but (along with the other's starters) makes a very fine starting threesome of songs. TFC always create pop-scapes holding romantic moods, great melancholy and superb charm. Here's sunshine and darker clouds (here's even a song called "Dark Cloud") side by side. Check "Into the City", or "Dark Clouds". I find side one better than side two (LP), but thee are of course some gold on the second half as well. Such as "Shock and Awe" and "When I Still Have Thee". The album ends with a nod to The Beatles, with "Today Never Ends".

Even though Teenage Fanclub have made far better albums, Shadows is a sympathetic and soothing listen. Summer here, kids. If it gets too hot, you'd better go for the Shadows.

Copyright © 2010 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Teenage Fanclub articles/reviews: Here, Howdy!, I'm In Love, Man-Made, Songs From Northern Britain, an interview with Gerard Love.

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