Teenage Fanclub: Endless Arcade (Merge) | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Sunday, June 13th, 2021  

Teenage Fanclub

Endless Arcade

Merge

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I can honestly say in the 31 years since the Scottish band’s debut single, “Everything Flows,” dropped like a breath of fresh air on a hot summer’s day, that I’ve never met anyone that doesn’t like Teenage Fanclub. While the band’s line-up and sound have changed considerably over time, they’ve remained stalwarts of their trade. An institution of sorts that first emerged from the halcyon era of “indie” as it’s come to be known. Yet they’ve never been ones to compromise or vaguely attempt to fit in with whatever scene was flavor of any particular day (of which they’ve witnessed plenty come and go).

So, it’s to their credit that three decades later a new Teenage Fanclub is still as eagerly anticipated by fans as one was when the band first started. Which is just as well because their tenth full-length marks the beginning of another chapter in the band’s fecund history. This is mainly down to it being the first Teenage Fanclub record that doesn’t feature founder member Gerard Love (he departed in 2018). It also marks their first album where acclaimed multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Euros Childs has played an active part in the band’s writing process, having become a permanent member during the interim period.

Schooled in the art of classic songwriting from the start, Teenage Fanclub have always worn their hearts on sleeves adorning Byrds and Big Star patches without ever becoming a pastiche or copyists. If anything, their legacy is as glittering as that of their influences, and Endless Arcade represents another wholesome addition to a steadfast catalogue that oozes quality from the word go.

Written and recorded throughout 2019 and finally completed before the COVID-19 pandemic brought life as we know it to a grinding halt in the early part of 2020, Endless Arcade is a record that showcases both Norman Blake and Raymond McGinley as two of the most gifted (not to mention consistent) songwriters of their generation. Which means Endless Arcade feels like a diary of sorts. Rich in emotional integrity while reminiscing about the past, Teenage Fanclub exude honesty through every pore. “We lived the dream but we never knew,” suggests McGinley on “In Our Dreams,” and three decades on, Teenage Fanclub remain a visionary proposition. (www.teenagefanclub.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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