Teenage Fanclub’s latest LP, Here is also their first record in six years and comes twenty six years removed from debut Catholic Education. The Teenage Fanclub of the twenty first century is one that deals in sure things; an equal delegation of song writing responsibilities (four songs apiece for Norman Blake, Gerard Love and Raymond McGinley); a significant wait for a new record (Here is their third long player of this century); and a richly melodic collection of songs, beautifully arranged from one of the more under-appreciated groups to emerge from the late eighties/early nineties glut of guitar bands.
There’s a sense of intuitive confidence at play throughout – this is a four headed monster that instinctively understand how to interpret the work of their three songwriters in the best light. ‘I’m in Love’ is a breezy, jangly delight while the more expansive ‘The Darkest Part of the Night’ is another highlight, but this record is strong collectively. There are glorious harmonies, there’s judiciously used fuzz guitar and swooning choruses aplenty. All the old reference points endure, from Big Star to The Byrds, but it’s a sound that is inherently of Teenage Fanclub.
A work of effortless certainty and consistency, Here is seldom anything less than very good while rarely fully transcending into excellence. At its core, it’s a work grounded in gratitude – for life, for love and for still turning out records of this quality, almost thirty years down the line.