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Teenage Fanclub - Nothing Lasts Forever (Album Review)

Tuesday, 03 October 2023 Written by Graeme Marsh

Photo: Donald Milne

We all love a bit of Teenage Fanclub, don’t we? Having given listeners so many wonderful moments throughout their decades-long, wildly influential career, the thirst for more will always be there. With that, though, comes expectation. Expectation that ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’ struggles to match.

The power-poppers’ previous album ‘Endless Arcade’ was decent, if not revelatory. What you got was what you thought you would get: the always welcome Byrdsian guitars were there, along with gorgeous vocal harmonies that remain the band’s biggest draw despite the departure of co-founder Gerard Love.

But here the lack of a killer tune or three holds the Fannies back — the record is in danger of being pulled from its sleeve, laid on the turntable, flipped and then returned to its sleeve with just a hint of what just happened remaining in the memory cells. 

Light plays an unintentional central role on ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’. Both Norman Blake and Raymond McGinley found it a recurring theme while writing separately and, in Blake’s case, perhaps it was a bounce back following his influence over ‘Endless Arcade’. There, he poured out his woes following the break-up of his marriage, a hurt that also echoes here through the album title.

But there’s more optimism on show now. “It’s time to move along and leave the past behind,” declares the opener, and album standout, Foreign Land. Funnily enough, though, the future is the last thing on the music's mind. After a droning intro, chugging guitars transport you back to the late 1960s and early ‘70s — if you weren’t there then this is a remarkably accurate insight into the era, with vocal harmonies that recall both Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and Wishbone Ash.

Mostly recorded during a 10 day stint in Wales, the record reflects its countryside surroundings. At best, it’s singularly paced, easy listening and, while that may satisfy a significant percentage of the fanbase, others may feel the formula is waning. At times it feels like the same track is going on and on. 

I Left A Light On is almost the band becoming a parody of themselves, while the more minimal Self-Sedation features staccato piano but sounds like ELO on a wind-down. I Will Love You closes the album with seven minutes of largely going nowhere in a simple and inoffensive manner.

Single Back to the Light provides a heavier guitar touch for a much better effort during the album’s second half but there’s little else to stimulate the senses at all, aside from the synth-backed surprise of Falling Into the Sun and the jazzy, brass-peppered See the Light, where the lyrics encourage you to “go back in time”, which is appropriate given where this music takes you.

Teenage Fanclub have acknowledged that they’re attending more funerals year after year, an admission that accompanies the reality of growing older, and sadly it’s reflected in their work here, too. ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’ sounds like a rather prophetic title.

Teenage Fanclub Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Thu November 02 2023 - DUBLIN 3Olympia Theatre
Fri November 03 2023 - BELFAST Mandela Hall
Sun November 05 2023 - GLASGOW Tramway Theatre
Mon November 06 2023 - ABERDEEN Tivoli Theatre
Tue November 07 2023 - EDINBURGH Assembly Rooms
Wed November 08 2023 - LEEDS Brudenell Social Club
Thu November 09 2023 - GATESHEAD Glasshouse International Centre for Music - Sage 2
Sat November 11 2023 - MANCHESTER RNCM Theatre
Sun November 12 2023 - SHEFFIELD Leadmill
Mon November 13 2023 - BATH Komedia
Tue November 14 2023 - BIRMINGHAM Birmingham Town Hall
Fri November 17 2023 - LONDON EartH (Theatre)
Sat November 18 2023 - LONDON EartH (Theatre)

Compare & Buy Teenage Fanclub Tickets at Stereoboard.com.


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