Bandwagonesque Thirteen grand Prix Songs From Northern Britain Howdy!
SONY 10/10, 7/10, 8/10, 8/10, 6/10
scots relive their 1990s with remastered vinyl reissues
Teenage Fanclub were never afraid to wear their musicgeek influences right on their tattered sleeves, and that might be one of their most endearing traits: few bands in the early 1990s so unabashedly evoked the joys of a thorougxh record collection. Bandwagonesque, released in 1991, nearly made them superstars, marrying Byrds harmonies with Big Star songcraft and Crazy horse guitar noise. Two years later, Thirteen took its title from a Chilton/Bell tune and even included a song called “Gene Clark”, but it was 1995’s more mature Grand Prix that fully showcased the contributions of all three songwriters. As the 1990s wore on, they increasingly emphasised hooks over distortion, which might have focused their melodies but stripped the songs of urgency and tension. Fortunately, their lyrical concerns changed in parallel with their sound, reflecting new perspectives that come with age and the professional setbacks they faced. For that reason all of these albums, including 2000’s underwhelming Howdy!, have gained both gravity and joy over the years. Extras: 7/10. Initial pressings of each album include a 7in featuring contemporaneous outtakes, B-sides and rarities.