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.

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