Release Date: Jun 7, 2005
Record label: Merge / Pema
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
Following the decks-clearing exercise of 2003's A Short Cut to Teenage Fanclub compilation, the Glaswegian jangle popsters formed their own PeMa label and decided they'd go to Chicago to make their next album. They recruited producer John McEntire (of Tortoise), whose influence seems to have resulted in an intimate, semi-minimal approach, where every sound is carefully matched and graded and anything superfluous has been ruthlessly expunged. The punkadelic blast of early Fanclub has given way to a lyrical folk-pop feel, although they do permit themselves a voyage into scuzzy space-rock in Born Under a Good Sign, and the band's always excellent harmonies sound preternaturally warm and smooth.
Once hailed as the second coming of Big Star, the trio of singer/songwriters who make up Teenage Fanclub -- Norman Blake, Gerard Love, and Raymond McGinley -- have attained the status of something more along the lines of a Scottish Crosby, Stills & Nash. Which is to say they are a band of equals with all three members consistently cranking out song after song of well-written melodic rock that references such icons of the genre as the Byrds, the Beach Boys, Badfinger, and yes Big Star. With 2005's Man-Made can Tortoise be added to that list? Well, sort of.
One thing can be said about Teenage Fanclub’s best material: it’s made to last. Before they found the sound you and I know them for best, they hopped onto the Dinosaur Jr. wagon with “Everything Flows,” and an accompanying album A Catholic Education, a surprisingly sturdy summation of anthemic grot that couldn’t get out of bed or shake the hair from its eyes.