With the band reduced to a trio of songwriters (Blake, McGinley and bassist
Gerard Love), Howdy (Columbia, 2000 - Thirsty Ear, 2001)
could be their strongest work to date had they removed the weak tracks.
The tender, organ and acoustic-guitar based Happiness and
The Sun Shines From You are captivating all right,
and the moody, seven-minute ballad My Uptight Life would be a
highlight on many folksinger's albums, but the core of their art remains
songs like I Need Direction and Accidental Life that are
reminiscent of the Byrds both in the vocal harmonies and in the jangling
and, as usual, most of the album is filler: one wonders why Brit-pop bands
can't just wait five years before releasing another album.
In the agonizing Brit-pop scene there is no room anymore for half-hearted efforts.
Words of Wisdom (Alternative Tentacles, 2002)
is a collaboration between Teenage Fanclub and Jad Fair.
Four Thousand Seven Hundred and Sixty-Six Seconds (Jetset, 2003) is
a career retrospective.
As original as a rainy day in London,
Teenage Fanclub's seventh album
Man-Made (Merge, 2005)
is, nonetheless, their most valuable contribution to Brit-pop since
It is hard to be thrilled by the likes of
Norman Blake's It's All In My Mind and Slow Fade,
Gerard Love's Save,
Raymond McGinley's Feel, Nowhere and his piano ballad Only With You,
Virtually a hit parade of the Sixties (Beach Boys, Byrds and especially Hollies),
but one must recognize a stubborn consistency in the trio's oeuvre.
As far as imitations go, this is indeed an impressive one.
Shadows (2010) turned from teenage pop to adult pop, like
Baby Lee that seems to date from before they were even born.
Norman Blake and
Euros Childs of Gorky's Zygotic Mynci,
Teenage Fanclub's bassist Gerry Love formed the Lightships that debuted with
the mediocre Brit-pop of Electric Cables (2012).
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