Teenage Fanclub, Sam Evian | Bottom Lounge | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Teenage Fanclub

Teenage Fanclub

Donald Milne

Teenage Fanclub, Sam Evian 

When: Fri., Oct. 21, 9 p.m. 2016
Price: $20
On their first album in six years, veteran Scottish band Teenage Fanclub settle into middle-aged contentment, refining and subtly tweaking a strum-happy guitar sound that largely exists to support the gorgeous harmony singing between Norman Blake, Gerard Love, and Raymond McGinley. Most of Here (Merge) conveys joy and appreciation for life’s most basic rewards, a kind of reconciliation that one either embraces or rejects as the years pile on. In fact, while Teenage Fanclub may not be reinventing their sound, the songs frequently suggest narrators who are eagerly grabbing at a second chance for happiness. In the driving “Thin Air” Love sings, “Come let the future open up its mystery / I feel a change in my heart and soul,” while on the following “Hold On” McGinley veers dangerously close to self-help parody, singing, “Hold on, to your head, to your heart, never stop what you can’t start, just hold on to your heart.” But in song after song the infectious melodies soothe and energize, transcending the occasional triteness of the lyrics, while the easygoing grooves occasionally receive jolts from the terrific guitar playing. Complemented by a twined solo, “The Darkest Part of the Night” recalls the band’s old pop compatriots Velvet Crush, while “Live in the Moment” includes a fuzzed-out lead that erupts from ambling pyschedelia. In the end, however, it’s all about the voices and the melodies those parts shape.
— Peter Margasak



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