Teenage Fanclub - Baby Lee - Singles - Reviews - Soundblab

Teenage Fanclub - Baby Lee

by Pete Sykes Rating:7 Release Date:2010-05-24

It's 19 years since Teenage Fanclub released Bandwagonesque, their classic work - and one which, fact fans, beat Nevermind by some band called Nirvana in Spin magazine's 1991 Album of the Year poll. That 19 years has seen the Glaswegians tack steadily towards the middle of the road, via at least one brilliant LP, 1995's Grand Prix. They haven't been fashionable since then, if ever (hence the ironic name), but having perfected their ability to churn out gorgeous, summery indie-pop gems on Grand Prix, they've continued doing just that for the last fifteen years. Now they're approaching middle age, and returning with a new album, Shadows, from whch 'Baby Lee' is the first cut to be unveiled.

On this evidence, the title of that new album can also be read as ironic - 'Baby Lee' is a quite incredibly light, airy, sweet little confection, like aural candyfloss. Like candyfloss, it's also a bit sickly; the phrase 'twee as fuck' doesn't even come close to describing its gurning cuteseyness. This is not to say that 'Baby Lee' isn't a nice song - it is. The verse is sprightly and charming, with Norman Blake telling one of his typically bittersweet love stories, until things slow down a little on the rather ponderous chorus. But the strings and glockenspiel are dolloped out in pleasingly liberal portions, and it's all predictably well-crafted and pretty, and who could complain about that? Well, a less charitable reviewer might use the word 'anodyne', but fans will be satisfied, smiling and humming along as Teenage Fanclub continue doing their lovely thing, keeping a steady pace as musical fashion whizzes past.

Pete Sykes

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