By Tanner Bidish, Contributor
Key Tracks: “I’m in Love,” “I Have Nothing More to Say,” “Connected to Life”
After six years, the Scottish quartet known as Teenage Fanclub is back with Here. Their eleventh full length album rings out with catchy power-pop jams and lulling ballads. Traditional of their past, song writing and vocal duties are at an even spread between members Norman Blake, Gerard Love, and Raymond McGinley. Wistful harmonies with tactful psychedelic influence gives the record a calming overall vide; coupled with lyrics that speak to the simple truths of life, the aptly named Here keeps itself grounded and present.
Here’s best standalone track, “I’m in Love,” starts the album with good momentum. A solid guitar hook draws in the listener while uplifting vocals keep the listener invested. The chorus is catchy and introduces the theme of simple goodness, “It feels good with you next to me / That’s enough, That’s enough.” The song sets a tone that is complemented through the rest of the work. “Hold On” tells of keeping loved ones close and even delivers this album’s mantra, “simple pleasures are all we need.” Psychedelic instrumentation takes the reins for “I Have Nothing More to Say” with a near vocal guitar solo carrying the song out through the last minute.
Things become dreamlike with “Steady State.” The guitar is soft and well accompanies the wistful route this track relies on. This marks a subtle change in the record where the pace slows down. “With You” brings a deeper bass line to the table, and “Connected to Life” attempts to close out the album with some final thoughts. Norman Blake sings out, “I hope I never see you, disappear into shadows, into night” with the last stretch of the line repeated until it fades. The guitar drifts off at a distance and makes for a bittersweet closure.
In its entirety, Here is a satisfying listen. It’s not loaded with bangers, none of the songs except the first are great candidates for singles, and nothing is incredibly heavy hitting. But Teenage Fanclub is also not trying to sound like that. Their latest release is humble and content, and pleasant because of it. Here is full of simple goodness, and marks maturity in a long career.