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Teenage Fanclub: Songs From Northern Britain


Teenage Fanclub

Album: Songs From Northern Britain
Label: Creation/Columbia

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After the appearance of Teenage Fanclub's major-label debut, 1991's justly acclaimed Bandwagonesque, the four-piece Scottish combo found itself caught in one of the most viciously rapid accolades-to-backlash cycles in the history of pop music. The world may have been receptive at first to the idea of Glaswegian power-pop, but it didn't take long for the sounds of Seattle to pretty much drown out the competition. Thirteen, an underproduced if underregarded follow-up, didn't help matters, and 1995's Grand Prix went largely unheard. Cautious and unaffecting, the same fate will likely await Songs From Northern Britain. Adopting a jangly, Byrdsian sound throughout the entire album, with the occasional addition of primitive-sounding keyboards, Teenage Fanclub has turned past accusations of derivativeness into self-fulfilling prophecies. Tracks such as "Ain't That Enough" come close to the band's latent potential, but much of the album is closer to "Planets"—which, with its swelling string section and fuzzy synthesizer, sounds like a lost song from the ELO catalog. Songs From Northern Britain is the sad sound of a once-great band that simply lost its nerve.