Review ·

For the Glaswegian power-poppers in Teenage Fanclub, working with producer John McEntire of Chicago post-rockers Tortoise might seem like a departure. And that�s because it pretty much is. They�ve moved their harmony-rich songcraft from Crazy Horse-like guitar grind to more relaxed settings over the years. But McEntire nudges them gently into new territory here -- and not just to the skylines of the Windy City alluded to on the album art.

On Man-Made, the rhythms are generally static, almost Krautrock-like -- drum fills are in short supply here. Most of the guitar solos get treated and processed �til they buzz and hum like amplifiers. At times, the fear lingers that McEntire will perform a disservice similar to his compadre Jim O�Rourke�s on Wilco�s A Ghost is Born, making the songs artful yet cold and joyless. But at worst, McEntire renders the songs on Man-Made a tad monochromatic. Most of the time, the production and songs come together seamlessly.

On opener �It�s All in My Mind� and �Save,� the sparse production highlights the little twists and turns of the melodies. They subvert your expectations of guitar-pop while remaining catchy all the same. Imagine Brian Eno working with Badfinger and you�ve got a good idea of what�s going on here.

Teenage Fanclub appears to be one of very few bands to actually master something approaching democracy. The twelve songs on Man-Made are evenly split between the three songwriters: Norman Blake, Gerard Love and Raymond McGinley (Frances Macdonald rounds out the group). But it can be a bit difficult for the non-devotee to figure out the differences in their writing styles.

Nevertheless, between the stilled beauty of McGinley�s �Only with You,� the moody folk of Blake�s �Cells� and the relatively frenzied tempo (by this album�s standards, anyway) of Love�s �Born Under a Good Sign,� everyone does his best to keep things interesting.

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Teenage Fanclub Web site

Merge Records Web site

Teenage Fanclub on Merge Records' Web site

  • It's All In My Mind
  • Time Stops
  • Nowhere
  • Save
  • Slow Fade
  • Only With You
  • Cells
  • Feel
  • Fallen Leaves
  • Flowing
  • Born Under A Good Sign
  • Don't Hide
Mike Doughty - Haughty Melodic Manual Azure Vista

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