wed 24/04/2024

Album: Teenage Fanclub‎ - Endless Arcade | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Teenage Fanclub‎ - Endless Arcade

Album: Teenage Fanclub‎ - Endless Arcade

Line-up changes are no obstacle to sustained excellence

Teenage Fanclub's 'Endless Arcade': it doesn't have a typical album opener

A few hurdles need jumping before grappling with the essence of Teenage Fanclub’s 11th album. Endless Arcade is their first without bassist and founder member Gerard Love. He, alongside Norman Blake and Raymond McGinley, was one of the band’s songwriters.

And this is their first with former Gorky's Zygotic Mynci mainstay and solo artist Euros Childs in the line-up on keyboards. Blake and Childs made the Jonny album together in 2011. Childs has recorded a fair amount of other collaborations but joining Teenage Fanclub in 2019 was a different type of commitment. Following this arrival, TFC keyboard player and guitarist Dave McGowan switched to bass.

The first album from this reconfigured Teenage Fanclub features 12 songs: six by Blake and six by McGinley. It might be possible that Endless Arcade could be like, so to speak, two-thirds of their previous albums extended across its full length. However, the seven-minute, Blake-penned lead-off cut “Home” is grounded by a mid-pace motorik chug. A surprise. Its final four minutes are instrumental, and defined by elegant, spacey guitar soloing. Not a typical album opener.

While McGinley’s songs don’t reveal the specifics of what  has inspired them, Blake’s appear to draw from personal experiences. In “Warm Embrace” he sings "dress myself from a plastic case…I long for you and your warm embrace.” Contrast this with McGinley’s “Everything is Falling Apart" where the reason for the title can’t be attributed to specifics. The perspective is expansive. However, on the sonically gleaming, Notorious Byrd Brothers-esque "The Sun Won't Shine on me", Blake is subjective: “I have lost any sense of belonging…we had a love that I thought was forever.”

Endless Arcade is a lovely album, one of Teenage Fanclub’s best. It also shows they have survived Gerard Love’s departure. Furthermore, for Blake at least, it seems to be part of dealing with a process of healing.

One of Teenage Fanclub’s best albums, ‘Endless Arcade’ shows they have survived Gerard Love’s departure


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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