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Songs from Northern Britain

Teenage Fanclub

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Album Review

No longer the brash, slightly grungy flavor of the month they were in 1992, Songs From Northern Britain finds Teenage Fanclub's trio of singer/songwriters — Gerard Love, Raymond McGinley, and Norman Blake — addressing adulthood and responsibility with a bright optimism that sets them apart from many of their contemporaries. From the cheeky yet heartfelt title to the gorgeous cover photographs taken by the band with photographer David Milne in the Scottish Highlands, Songs From Northern Britain is ostensibly a concept album about home and love. Much like the Byrds, the Eagles, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young identified themselves with Los Angeles and Topanga Canyon, Teenage Fanclub has become intrinsically linked to Glasgow and rural Scotland. On "Planets," Blake sings, "We're going over the country/And into the highlands/To look for a home." Similarly, on "I Don't Want Control of You," one of the most beautiful affirmations of fidelity in a relationship, Blake writes, "Everyday I look in a different face/Feelings getting stronger with every embrace." The overall effect is a feeling that the members of Teenage Fanclub are happy with who they are and who they love and see these notions as universal ideals. Musically, the album is more arranged than past releases and delves further into a folky, acoustic sound that fleshes out their Big Star fascination with some sweet harmonies à la the Byrds. There is even a slight bit of country twang mixed into these eminently hummable songs. This isn't to say that Teenage Fanclub has gone completely acoustic, though, as "Planets" features the sonic rush of a Moog synthesizer and fuzzy electric guitars rock pleasantly throughout much of the album. While Songs From Northern Britain may be too gentle and subtle for those listeners not willing to give it more than one spin, it is a resolutely beautiful album that will most likely stand as Teenage Fanclub's masterpiece.

Customer Reviews

The Best Teenage Fanclub Album

Near perfect!

Absolute crime

to put up as a partial album. Terrific harmonies, punchy riffs, pristine power pop. There ain't a bad song in the lot. Try "Take the Long Way Round," "It's a Bad World," "Ain't That Enough."

Excellent

Nearly every song on this album is great. Very hard to describe the feel of this album. .somewhat sleepy. . rainy. .but man, it's good.

Biography

Formed: 1989 in Glasgow, Scotland

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

After first gaining acclaim for a dense, melodic sound that anticipated the coming emergence of grunge, Scotland's Teenage Fanclub spent the remainder of their career as torch-bearers for the power pop revival, unparalleled among their generation for both their unwavering adherence to and brilliant reinvention of the classic guitar pop of vintage acts like Big Star and Badfinger. Blessed with the talents of three formidable singers and songwriters (Norman Blake, Gerard Love, and Raymond McGinley,...
Full Bio

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