Unlike many other bands who have made a fixed career out of touring and releasing steady music, Teenage Fan Club have done so by minimally changing their sound yet managing to remain sounding fresh and articulate well into the contemporary musical stratosphere. Here is the Scottish band’s 10th studio album, complete with heartwarming earworms and easy going song sentiments.
Gathering with a grinning relief, the record unfolds the first track I’m In Love into an easy progression of acoustic, rock energy made memorable by catchy hook lines and dusty vintage feelings. The vocals throughout Here follow the band’s usual expression, having Norman Blake, Raymond McGinley, Gerard Love cycle through singing duties equally though mostly cohesively. Hold On cycles through a folk-rock love ballad, whilst The Darkest Part Of The Night grips to a country vibe that could have easily appeared on Car Button Cloth by The Lemonheads. Although the song’s on Here are suitable to the band’s already solidified back catalogue, there are moments where there could have been a little more room for a different approach. Despite this, this risky template for their musical output seems to be working against all odds, particularly relevant to the lengths visited in the track I Have Nothing More To Say. It’s a slow burning light, fused with calming textural differences that compliment one another with the serenading qualities in the vocals and buttery instrumentation. Just as you think your mind is made up, a strategic inclusion of a growling guitar solo transposes the track into a balancing sympathy. The First Sight enables a feathery composition, reminiscent of a 70s folk aura championed by classic rock giants such as The Eagles or America. Harnessing this same feeling, Steady State situates as the album’s leading figure, humbling projections of compelling band work and thick spiritual chord progressions give a nod to a subtle Steely Dan influence. Vocal hymns and sensory instrument combinations fizzle together in It’s A Sign, crying feelings of ecstasy and warm structured complexities within its three and a half minutes, before Connected To Life clenches the dusty throwback rural and American west themed memories with a Pink Floyd-esque nature.
As ever, Teenage Fanclub have thoughtfully created a sensible record with interesting territories that compliment the fragile moments and sobering measures explored within the songwriting. It’s by utilising their career experience and mutual musicality that enables them to continue plugging their spirits into their instruments and recording the process and result. This time, it’s in the form of Here – their most appreciable and sophisticated body of work thus far.