Here, 180G Black Vinyl LP Record, MRG492LP
When Teenage Fanclub broke in 1991 with their third album Bandwagonesque, they were a band deeply of their time. The Scottish quintet was at once noisy enough to stand among trendsetters like Dinosaur Jr. and My Bloody Valentine, and melodic enough to fit seamlessly on post-“Alex Chilton,” Chilton-indebted college radio. The band’s zeitgeist-capturing breakthrough actually posed a threat to Nirvana come list-making season. In the wake of their banner year, however, Teenage Fanclub carved a quieter path, with each album feeling slightly less bold and more introverted. That’s not to say they retreated. As Teenage Fanclub’s heavier, gutsier proclivities subsided, they focused on becoming an even more sustainable machine, tightening up their songwriting and honing in their trademark three-part harmonies between vocalists Norman Blake, Gerard Love, and Raymond McGinley.
As the years have passed and the band's output has slowed, Teenage Fanclub’s music has evolved like a long and stable love affair, propelled by intimacy, comfort, and shared admiration. In “I’m in Love,” the opening track on Here, Teenage Fanclub’s first album in six years, Blake actually makes the comparison himself. “I like your trajectory,” he sings, “I’m in love with you, love.” The lyric could be addressing a person or just the feeling itself: a tribute to an emotion. Sunny and deceptively complex, “I’m in Love” serves as a fitting introduction to Here, the band’s subtlest, warmest release to date and also one of their strongest.
With their hushed production and contented lyrics, the 12 tracks on Here play like a series of quiet revelations, the kind of thoughts you have in moments of clarity, surrounded by people you love. The album’s best songs communicate that state of bliss with immediately gratifying melodies and effortless wisdom. The Love-penned “Thin Air” embraces the mystery of life with an energetic, Bad Reputation-era Thin Lizzy buzz. Equally euphoric is “The Darkest Part of the Night,” a sweet, autumnal exercise in classic pop songwriting, bobbing from hook to hook like the horses on a merry-go-round. -Pitchfork