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Teenage Fanclub - Endless Arcade (Album Review)

Thursday, 06 May 2021 Written by Graeme Marsh

Photo: Donald Milne

Since Teenage Fanclub released ‘Grand Prix’ in 1995, we kinda know what’s coming when an album appears. Well versed in the ways of The Byrds, if not direct disciples, there are usually recognisable flecks of the Californian legends’ music, such as Roger McGuinn’s jangly guitars and David Crosby’s love of harmonised vocals, in the Scottish outfit’s indie-rock confections.

‘Grand Prix’ was also significant for another specific reason, in that songwriting was split equally between Gerry Love, Raymond McGinley and Norman Blake for the first time, a trend that became a standard. With the departure of bassist Love in 2019 it falls to the other two songwriting stalwarts to fill the gap, now splitting the burden 50:50.

While a glut of familiar, joyous guitar tones ring out throughout ‘Endless Arcade’, there is a distinct contrast between the song titles and lyrics found beneath the surface.

Everything Is Falling Apart plays on this theme as a catchy tune, set to a chugging motorik beat, provides some light against the darkness of some despondent words. 

The Sun Won’t Shine On Me adopts a similar stance over a slower tempo while standout track Home opens the collection with the lament: “I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever be home again.” It’s a superb cut peppered with some of the best guitar soloing you’ll hear on a Teenage Fanclub album—it’s been around for months but as spring finally staggers in it is only now that it feels relevant.

As good as ‘Endless Arcade’ gets, it also suffers from occasional bouts of blandness. The Future is slow, almost funereal in fact, and rather drab. As is closer Silent Song, where a messy start gives way to another dull number. Built around an abrasive guitar riff, the reverb-heavy In Our Dreams is much better, while the chorus melody belonging to Back In The Day is simply sublime.

Since ‘Here’ was released in 2016 there may have been a huge upheaval with Love leaving, but McGinley and Blake have strode on with only the occasional stutter. ‘Endless Arcade’ marks a new era for the band but fans needn’t be too concerned, it’s pretty much business as usual.

Teenage Fanclub Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Tue September 07 2021 - MANCHESTER Manchester Academy 2
Wed September 08 2021 - LONDON O2 Forum Kentish Town
Tue September 14 2021 - EDINBURGH Usher Hall
Wed September 15 2021 - ABERDEEN Aberdeen Music Hall
Thu September 16 2021 - GLASGOW Barrowland
Fri April 08 2022 - SHEFFIELD Leadmill
Sat April 09 2022 - LEEDS Leeds Beckett Students Union
Sun April 10 2022 - NOTTINGHAM Rock City
Tue April 12 2022 - BIRMINGHAM O2 Institute
Wed April 13 2022 - NORWICH Waterfront
Thu April 14 2022 - BATH Komedia
Sat April 16 2022 - BRIGHTON Chalk
Sun April 17 2022 - PORTSMOUTH Wedgewood Rooms
Wed April 20 2022 - BELFAST Empire Music Hall
Thu April 21 2022 - DUBLIN Academy

Compare & Buy Teenage Fanclub Tickets at Stereoboard.com.



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