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Album Review

by Teenage Fanclub


Review Date
Reviewed by
Karyn Cushen

With the release of Shadows, Teenage Fanclub has an epic nine studio albums under their belt, spanning an impressive twenty-year period and numerous comparisons to Neil Young, The Byrds, Big Star and the Beach Boys. Surprisingly, a third of the original line-up still remain (guitarist Norman Blake, bassist Gerard Love and guitarist Raymond McGinley) each performing their penned tracks, diplomatically spread across the album.

Shadows embodies sentiments of hope, optimism and reflection, standing in stark contrast from their melancholic immediate previous release, Man-Made, five years ago. The first track, ‘Sometimes I Don’t Need to Believe in Anything’, is punchy and has an intro reminiscent of America’s ‘Tin Man’. Like the rest of the album, this track uses layered instrumentals and harmonies, across a basic chord progression and rhyme scheme, to fashion a form of upbeat baroque pop.

This romanticism is clearly pronounced in the album’s first single, ‘Baby Lee’, which is positively fizzing with sixties nostalgia, as it cites, above a woven tapestry of stings, chimes, piano and guitar, “Baby Lee I'm only trying to remind you / They had me in mind oh yeah when they designed you / And baby lee I'm always watching from a distance / Oh marry marry me oh baby now I am insisting”.

Shadows is a sturdy, mature release from an exceptionally established band, with all twelve tracks containing traces of understated elegance, classically constructed melodies and confidence. However, nothing in the album particularly stands out as memorable, as each track seamlessly melts into the next. I guess consistency, especially given their age, at the expense of experimentation is comforting and will no doubt still sell records.

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