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Teenage Fanclub - Shadows

Teenage Fanclub, Shadows

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

OK, so it’s not exactly a stretch for them but it’s great to have Teenage Fanclub back with new album Shadows.

Their first LP since Man-Made five years ago, Shadows is an effortlessly cool listen that positively embraces everything that we’ve come to know and love about Teenage Fanclub.

That is to say, sun-kissed melodies, shimmering hooks, vocal harmonising and beautiful, occasionally bittersweet songwriting.

The vibe is laid out from the outset, with the slightly whimsical Sometimes I Don’t Need To Believe In Anything… a slacker anthem in waiting, as well as a statement of empowerment for anyone who has self-belief. The “ba ba ba” laden outro is particularly satisfying.

Former single Baby Lee follows in typically lush fashion… a guitar based slice of folk-rock that epitomises the term “sunshine melodies”. It drops one of the standout choruses on the LP… and is very much a live favourite in waiting. It’s utterly beautiful.

Thereafter, the album shifts tempos between breezy and reflective in lovely fashion, occasionally employing string backing to augment the lovely sound of their guitars. Vocally, they remain chilled… relaying their thoughts and sentiments in an almost effortless fashion.

But as with previous Teenage Fanclub material, it’s a reassuringly laidback listen – bright, thoughtfully layered instrumentally, and thought-provoking lyrically.

The Fall is a lovely ode to getting away from it all and leaving the hustle and bustle of the city behind which unfolds in untroubled fashion, while Into The City marks something of a return, complete with a more vibrant sound befitting the architectural change they sing about. It boasts a kick-ass (by their standards) beat and some indie-esque guitar licks, intermingled with flutes that are utterly charming.

A beautiful piano chord takes centre stage on the bittersweet Dark Clouds, another album highlight, while Shock And Awe delivers crisper, tighter hooks and a real head-nodding vibe that makes it perfect for Californian or general highway cruising.

In truth, though, there’s not really a filler or dud track on the LP. It’s a comeback album that underlines Teenage Fanclub’s worth (especially to their fans). And while it’s very much a signature sound, it’s one that’s wholly worth embracing.

Listen out, too, for When I Still Have Thee, Sweet Days Waiting and the blissful album closer Today Never Ends (a classic slice of country-inflicted chillout if ever there was one) to confirm that this is a really great listen.

While most bands are lucky to have one great songwriter, Teenage Fanclub are blessed with three, hence Shadows is overflowing with the kind of gorgeous, harmony driven classics you’d expect to find on a greatest hits album. It’s really that good a comeback from them!

Download picks: Baby Lee, Sometimes I Don’t Need To Believe In Anything, Dark Clouds, Today Never Ends, When I Still Have Thee

Track listing:

  1. Sometimes I Don’t Need To Believe In Anything
  2. Baby Lee
  3. The Fall
  4. Into The City
  5. Dark Clouds
  6. The Past
  7. Shock And Awe
  8. When I Still Have Thee
  9. Live With The Seasons
  10. Sweet Days Waiting
  11. The Back Of My Mind
  12. Today Never Ends

  1. Great album… but more of a stretch than you credit them for!

    Simon    Jun 1    #