Teenage Fanclub – Here (4 stars)

This article is from 2016

Teenage Fanclub – Here

TFC's tenth long-player is a wondrous celebration of life's quiet pleasures

The notion of contentment gets a lacklustre rap in rock 'n' roll. But easing into life's quiet pleasures, and revelling in what we've got, are the philosophies at the heart of Teenage Fanclub's tenth long-player – and it could not be more inspiriting or beautiful.

The album's in-the-moment title and pacifying cover art (mountains, forests, waterfalls) set the scene for this heartening album. Its opening track, 'I'm In Love', is a chiming power-pop serenade whose chorus – 'It feels good, when you're next to me, that's enough' – recalls 1997's glorious 'Ain't That Enough'. Harmonic folk-rock shimmy 'Live In the Moment' urges us to 'embrace the here and now', while 'Hold On' is a classic pop call-to-arms ('I don't hear much fanfare for the common man these days' … 'Simple pleasures are all we need').

Over 25 years into TFC's career, there is – perhaps unsurprisingly – more of a sense of looking back these days. It's in the past-tense yearning of shimmering psych-rock psalm 'I Was Beautiful When I Was Alive'; it's in the sun-kissed punk of 'Thin Air' ('I was hiding, I was always in disguise'); and it's all over the longing (yet celebratory) brass fanfares on kaleidoscopic soul-rock trip 'The First Sight' ('To simpler ways I'll return' ... 'Things will pass, it's just the way it's always been planned').

The album's songwriting was split equally between Norman Blake, Raymond McGinley and Gerry Love – each wrote separately, with no prior discussion of over-arching themes – but what emerges is an enlightening, intuitive body of work whose ideas echo and reinforce each other as they venture into unexplored corners, casting welcome light on the darkness of the night, and life. The album's all-but-final words may be 'disappear into shadows', but that only serves as a timely reminder to never lose sight of TFC's bright wonder.

Out on Fri 9 Sep, on PeMa.

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