Teenage Fanclub: Endless Arcade – Age shall not wither their jangly pop
Never underestimate musicians of a certain age, for they may return from whatever life has thrown at them with more vigour and vim than a truckload of vitamins washed down with a crate of Red Bull.
Teenage Fanclub, the Scottish band that Kurt Cobain deemed the best in the world, formed in 1989; they took a while to gel creatively but, by the end of 1991, they had released Bandwagonesque, an album that clearly laid out its love of American “B” bands: form an orderly queue if you like Beach Boys, Byrds and, in particular, Big Star. Teenage Fanclub’s forte is in presenting harmony-rich songs that are effortless and exacting in equal parts.
Teenage Fanclub - In Our Dreams
In other words, Endless Arcade, their 10th album and the follow-up to 2016’s Here, isn’t at all difficult to like. It comprises what you might safely call perfect pop songs that do everything perfect pop songs should. And yet the passing of 30 or so years has made a difference to the narratives therein. These are now songwriters and musicians in their 50s (newest member, 45-year-old Euros Childs, has no writing credits here), so in tandem with heart-warming tenderness is heartbreaking melancholia.
Topics may touch on self-doubt, the significance of civic responsibility and the not-inconsiderable values of being true to yourself and others, but it’s all squared with such uplifting melody lines it’s ridiculous to nitpick.