• Hank Melluish

Teenage Fanclub Review

At 12am on April 30th, Teenage Fanclub released Endless Arcade, a LONG-awaited album preceded by no less than five singles and no small deal of hype. It had been postponed about four times this year and I stayed up for it. My brother was listening to the new Royal Blood album when I told him, and together we listened to these albums we’d been waiting ages for to drop. When all was said and done, Royal Blood had “absolutely murdered it.” Considering Teenage Fanclub is one of my favorite groups of all time, I wish I could have said the same.

Now, this review is going to require some tact. There are no bad Teenage Fanclub albums. In fact, such a notion is a concept harder for me to grasp than “Mothman”. Since 1989 this group--made up of Norman Blake, Raymond McGinley and Gerard Love--have been exporting work that, no matter what genre you’d classify it as, was beautiful and varying degrees of perfect. Even Howdy!, their weakest album bar-none, boasts the essential “I Need Direction,” and “Dumb Dumb Dumb,” and warrants a listen at least once a year… but Endless Arcade is a definite step down. Folks, what we’re dealing with is Teenage Fanclub’s worst.

As bands grow older, it’s easy for them to stagnate, but that’s never what these guys did. They went full “Big Star” in the early ‘90s before honing that beauty that was uniquely them through the late ‘90s and early-2000s, and from 2005-onward have lapsed into calmer, more relaxing pop that isn’t uncommon for bands of a certain age, but Teenage Fanclub always had that ear and panache that kept things interesting. Then, in 2018, Gerard Love leaves, and that’s when the whispers begin. The three main players had remained the same since 1989, and one of their departures signified something big. Now, until two years ago, I had no idea there was more than one singer in the band, and I listen to them all the time. On God. I wouldn’t cap about this. All of the guys, regardless of who wrote what, adopted the same downplayed singing voice and style, which created this cohesion that you didn’t even