6th November 2023
Who are Teenage Fanclub? The heavily guitar-driven Scottish four-piece have been releasing tracks (initially on the legendary Creation Records label) since 1989; taking inspiration from bands such as Sonic Youth, Big Star, and the Byrds. Their third album ‘Bandwagonesque’ is regarded by many as an extremely influential album – even beating Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ in album of the year 1991 by the American magazine Spin. Their influence is such that many contemporary bands such as Alvvays and Death Cab for Cutie continue to reference their catalogue of work.
The line-up has seen some changes over time but their momentum and fan base has remained strong. I am confident this will continue with the long awaited 12th album ‘Endless Arcade’ which has extreme promise off the back of the newly released single ‘The Sun Won’t Shine On Me’.
It has been an almost impossible task to choose just a handful of my favourite Teenage Fanclub songs but after much deliberation and as is tradition, I am counting down to my number one!
Probably my favourite instrumental! Initially a maelstrom of noise eventually kicks into an incredibly heavy riff. Rock n’ roll at its best!
A cover of Pink Floyd’s 1967 track and is a great take on the original; providing a heavier feel to the song. It is featured on the album ‘The King’ which was deleted on its day of release, as the band felt the recording was too spontaneous. Added to this, Creation records pressed 20,000 copies, charged at full price: contrasting to bands view of creating just 1,000 cheaper copies.
Featured on Teenage Fanclub’s 6th album ‘Songs from Northern Britain’ is claimed as one of Norman Blake’s (frontman) favourite songs. Reflective of the bands changing sound, this track has a more melodic and upbeat feel, with a bouncy rhythm section. A really great song demarcating the versatility of sound that Teenage Fanclub posses.
The opening track on ‘Bandwagonesque’, and perfect fit for a pioneering album. Norman Blake himself said the lyrics for most of the songs on this album were written in an impromptu manner – no exception for The Concept whereby the lyrics were created just 20 minutes before recording. Personally, I feel this song is a great introduction for anyone who has never listened to Teenage Fanclub. It boasts jangly guitars with intertwining lead sections – topped off with some great harmonies.
The band’s debut single combines melodic lead guitar with a more distorted rhythm, almost reaching into the shoegaze genre. Reflective of the heavy early sound of Teenage Fanclub, this track is explosive: representing the pinnacle of their best work. Repetition can be heard at the heart of many of their tracks, particularly in the outro guitar section in this song – an extremely catchy ending to a great track.