Right from the opening chord of the lush 'Sometimes I Don't Need To Believe In Anything', Shadows is unmistakeably a new Fannies album. Five years after their previous self-release (Man-Made), Teenage Fanclub’s essential elements are all still in place and performing to good effect – they can still jangle and harmonise along with the best of them, and indeed lead the field when necessary. While that 2005 album was probably the group's most understated of their now 20 year career, this new release finds them tapping a more youthful and upbeat vein last seen on Howdy! From 2000.
'Baby Lee' will surely become a crowd favourite on the upcoming tour for its plentiful sing along opportunities. 'Into The City' is probably the song here that comes closest to those on mid-1990s offerings Grand Prix and Songs From Northern Britain, with its pacy start, fey mid-section and an outro that gets to the thrashiest point of the whole dozen tracks on offer.
Things enter a more thoughtful and measured place on 'The Past' which seems to pretty neatly create the sort of idle thought patterns you find yourself following while on the bus with nothing better to do but with no major stresses either. Not sure if 'Shock And Awe' is actually a reference to the war in Iraq, or even the Edinburgh punk band of the same name, but either way the feedback returns to the album at this point and we're swept along on a fairly jaunty wave of the stuff.
Offhand I can't think of any other songs that contain mention of both The Rolling Stones & The Red Army but Teenage Fanclub manage to get both into 'When I Still Have Thee' with ease, and it's one of their better love songs to boot. 'Sweet Days Waiting' veers into cocktail lounge country shimmer and is all the sweeter for it. Slow dancing to this on a late night, with the glitter ball spinning above, before the taxi home doesn't sound half bad.
All things considered its debatable whether this release will garner the band many new fans but it's proof positive they've still got it in spades and marks a very welcome return for one of the best bands of their generation. Thankfully, they're not The Shadows yet.