Seeing Teenage Fanclub live again at the Academy 3 in 2018, reminded me just how uplifting music can be, well, their music at least. A large amount of time in my youth was spent listening to their records, whatever mood I was in, putting on a Teenage Fanclub album seemed to make the world that bit better. The heavenly vocal harmonies and summery guitar sounds all encompassed a great sense of freedom, and being on one of the coolest labels around, Creation, only added to the allure. Now their eleventh album couldn’t have been timed any better – if ever the world was in need of a hefty dose of gloriously uplifting melodies, now might be good… 

‘Endless Arcade’ finds those summery vibes in abundance. Opener ‘Home’ is chock full of them, yet listen closely and those carefree lyrics have now been undercut with a sense of loss and longing, however combined with sublime guitar work from Norman Blake and Raymond McGinley, it never languishes in the doldrums too long. The title track reminds us “don’t be afraid of this life” and seems to have a great sense of urgency to make the most of everyday, sprinkled with some fine keyboard work from Welsh legend Euros Childs, it’s another fine addition to the Teenage Fanclub canon. 

There’s themes of insecurity and nostalgia scattered throughout as ‘The Sun Won’t Shine On Me’ declares, with Blake’s lyrics revealing “with a troubled mind, I am in decline and the sun won’t shine on me” all set against a backdrop of harmonious guitars. ‘Back In The Day’ is summery pop perfection, yet those demons are never far away either as Blake states “with each new passing day, I see that old world fading away, I just can’t seem to find the peace of mind that I knew back in the day” 

‘Endless Arcade’ may have many lyrical reflections on love, loss, and changing times, yet it’s also imbued with a sense of optimism and hope, as the bright and breezy melodies power it along. Following the departure of Gerard Love in 2018, some feared an element of their song writing punch would be gone, yet the glorious melodies remain intact, with a renewed sense of serenity and introspection running throughout. The guitars still jangle, the upbeat harmonies still reign supreme, and with another Teenage Fanclub record out, for forty-five minutes at least, the world once again seems to be a slightly better place. 

Teenage Fanclub: Endless Arcade – Released 30th April 2021 (PeMa)


From the early days of creating handmade zines, in a DIY paper and glue style, interviewing bands around town, then pestering Piccadilly Records to sell them, to writing for various independent mags such as Chimp and Ablaze, writing about the music I love is still a great passion. After testing the music industry waters in London with stints at various labels, being back in my hometown again, writing about this city’s vibrant music scene is as exciting as ever. All time favourite bands include Sonic Youth, Nick Cave, Patti Smith although anything from electro to folk via blues and pysch rock will also do nicely too. A great album, is simply a great album, regardless of whatever musical cage you put it in.