Teenage Fanclub’s first album in six years is largely a standard fare, not that that is a bad thing.
Since Grand Prix and Songs from Northern Britain, Teenage Fanclub’s style has largely been set. We’ve come to expect power pop influenced ballads sung with three part harmonies. The band’s latest effort Here contains no shocks or large deviations from this winning formula. That’s not to say that that is a bad thing, this is one of their strongest efforts and fits in well with their highly consistent back catalogue.
Opener ‘I’m in Love’ offsets much of the rest of the albums, more upbeat and bouncy than the gentler songs that follow it, almost catching the listener off guard. Status quo returns, however with ‘Thin Air’ and ‘Hold On’. ‘The Darkest Part of the Night’ is an early highlight, which recalls Songs from Northern Britain’s ‘I Don’t Want Control of You’, featuring gorgeous strings.
Standing out against the soft rock of the album is ‘Live in the Moment’, providing a crunchier element which does recall the heavier Bandwagonesque (the band’s breakthrough album). ‘Live in the Moment’ creates a very uplifting moment. In fact, the album is full of them. The band have created a synthesis of their own style while managing to pull in influences which fit the overall mood. It’s easy to compare the album closer ‘Connected to Life’ to Help! or Rubber Soul era Paul McCartney songs.
Being 10 albums in it would be easy to expect any band to have grown stale, yet Teenage Fanclub remain relevant. Each of the songwriters stamps his unique mark on each song, which creates different styles and varying amounts of experimentation. It is this which helps to keep not only this album, but also those preceding it fresh. While the majority of the albums treads similar roads to those of the already mentioned Grand Prix and Songs from Northern Britain, the path taken is different, with experimentations on themes of earlier albums, both musically and lyrically.