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Re: Rambling Impressions on Here

PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 12:25 am
by Georgia
Loving reading these, thank you! :D Please do go on and on and on.

mainguy wrote:
Georgia wrote:The Darkest Part of the Night -
Another of Norman's songs that is so perfect, natural and organic that it's hard to believe one of the Pop/Rock Greats of yore didn't pluck it out of the air and record it decades ago. Baby Lee was that song on Shadows. The arrangement is perfect, the vocal is perfect, the lyrics are perfect. Many artists could interpret this in a number of genres or ways. It passes the test of what a truly great song is.


I'm working on a theory that the reason that "The Darkest Part of the Night" sounds so familiar is that its a perfect mashup of all of Norman's Songs from Northern Britain.

Not that there's anything wrong with that!


You might be onto something, there.

Re: Rambling Impressions on Here

PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 12:01 pm
by pinball
Devotchik wrote:
pinball wrote:I've started a review but it reads like six form bollocks. Might try again later.



Image


Its coming. But its pretty involved. Potentially too involved.

Re: Rambling Impressions on Here

PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 1:44 pm
by Gene_Clark
"Steady State" is the aural Alka Selzer to cure the hangover on the morning after the 60s

Re: Rambling Impressions on Here

PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 8:26 pm
by pinball
Thin Air is a song, Gerard tells us, “about disappearing”. Another song and another Teenage Fanclub LP about impermanence, mortality and using the time we have in this realm well. No surprises there. The irony of course is that this album is called “Here”. And that’s the point; they haven’t disappeared. No sir.

So, while multifaceted and varied in texture, there is a thread running through this. Here we are, indeed, wherever here is (time, space, place?) and Ray’s challenge to us is “what are you gonna do, what are you gonna do about it?” And as if a set-up call and response, Gerry has the perfect retort; “I withstand”, he calmly imparts, “I withstand”. And how.

Gerry has long been my touchstone. I think his work as Lightships is/was awe-inspiring and it feels to me that he has grown in confidence as a writer and a singer to the extent that I regard him as the finest of my generation. I can certainly hear some Lightships echoes on these songs (I Have Nothing More to Say would fit nicely onto Electric Cables, no?) and I also wonder if he’s brought some of the learned production techniques and effects to the table. Thin Air also sounds great and It’s a Sign harks back to some of his soul stylings we’ve grown to love. However, for me the rising chorus with smattering of trumpet on the First Sight is this release’s Love bomb.

For me, the album’s only weakness, if it has any, is also its greatest strength. Thematically, it feels like it’s a bit more of the same. Great, right? I’ve always loved them for what they did, not for what they might change into. Like Norman said recently, people don’t buy a Fanclub record looking for the dubstep crossover. Or something.

Speaking of Mr Blake, broadly speaking, that is, I prefer his songs on this record to the last two. He’s pop, for me, is Norman. To Gerry’s soul and Raymond’s folk. When I first heard I’m in Love, I recognised the directness immediately but unlike Baby Lee and more like It’s All In My Mind, I like it more than I did now than I did on first listen. My favourite of his on this album had a similar effect on me “ah, textbook”, followed by “ahhh”, The Darkest Part of the Night harks back to “Did I Say”. No bad thing. The album closer, for me, is perhaps Norman bringing a little of the New Mendicants sound to the Fanclub and I can’t help but wonder if he’s thinking about his daughter here. Beautiful, affecting stuff.

That song also showcases the production on this album. Man Made was knowingly sparse and it felt like Shadows was a move back to a bigger sound. That sound is more roundly realised here and having listened to it on headphones, it’s a multi layered approach which is rewarded by repeated listening. It IS still getting better every time.

Very much like Raymond, then. Jesus this is good stuff. Last time round, I was blown away by The Fall. But, to be fair, he’s been mining a rich reflective vein for a while with genius like The World’ll be Okay, Don’t Hide, Only With You, Today Never Ends. This time With You is perhaps my favourite and while Hold On is a welcome step up in tempo, the play-out of I Was Beautiful When I Was Alive, already reference above, which doesn’t make us wait too long for the drumbeat to land, refers back to the same device at the end of the aforementioned The Fall. Bliss.

I don’t know how much their sojourns in other musical climes have had on team Fanclub’s contributions to this album but it feels like they really wanted to revisit some of their old musical haunts. It would be enough if they were “just” here, but they aren’t, perhaps absence made their well/sleeve-worn hearts grow fonder, as it does for us. Their songs may be concerned with the limitations of our temporal existence, but so what, they are here now, here forever and for some of us that is as close to a spiritual experience as we need or want.

Re: Rambling Impressions on Here

PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 10:09 pm
by Gene_Clark
My take on "Here" & The Wedding Present's "Going, Going" from this week's blog -: http://payaso-de-mierda.blogspot.co.uk/ ... going.html

In some ways Friday 9th September 2016 is a day that can never be matched in terms of its significance to my life. For a start, it was my partner Laura’s 50th birthday and all our neighbours threw a wonderful, celebratory, surprise party that made Laura realise just how loved and appreciated she is by everyone. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend this gathering as, neither of us being birthday people, I had already committed to attending The Wedding Present’s audio visual tour at the Sage, whereby they would be playing their new album Going, Going in its entirety. You can imagine just how awful this made me feel, but Laura was fine with it.

Also released on Friday 9th was Teenage Fanclub’s new album Here, which made this not so much a red letter day as seminal rite of passage in my cultural progress through early middle age. The two bands I’ve followed for the longest (more than a quarter of a century in each case) were releasing product at the same time; alright so the Weddoes came out a week earlier, but you get my drift.

Finishing work on Friday, I cycled home and tore open the cardboard package from Monorail Records that contained Here. Having already heard the opening two songs I’m in Love, perhaps the only lyric in history that utilises the word “trajectory” and Thin Air, there was already an element of comforting familiarity about the autographed, clear vinyl album I held in my hands. Reassuringly, the album was rigorously assembled with the trademark democracy integral to the band’s ethos; Gerry, Norman and Raymond, as ever, contribute 4 songs each. This is one of the facets of Teenage Fanclub I love the most; what band other than the Fannies, and I include The Beatles in this, can boast 3 distinctive songwriters whose work is all of comparable quality. Norman with the positive, upbeat, rockier numbers, Gerry with the glorious shimmering, gentle pop sensibility and Raymond with the more cerebral, quirkier, road less travelled songs that reward the careful listener, in contrast to the effervescent immediacy of the other two’s work. It is no surprise that the band sought to make public a Norman and then a Gerry song; more than anything else it reassures and pacifies an anxious Fanclub fanbase. As the late John Peel said of The Fall (when they were good), this is a band who are “always different; always the same.” However, and this is where things really do take an unexpected gear shift.

Without doubt, the positivity enshrined in Live in the Moment could be seen as the keynote message of the album. We’re all getting older, though some of us are getting better. Norman and Gerry have come up with the goods as ever, in terms of crowd pleasing singalongs, even if Darkest Part of the Night has an almost sombre undercurrent rarely present in a Blake composition, and slices of dappled beauty, whereby I Have Nothing More To Say is glittery electro pop with a solo that could be a cousin of Eno’s Here Come the Warm Jets. The beautifully cluttered It’s a Sign shows a seamless link with Gerry’s Lightships work, while Norman’s songs have little in common with his side projects; both approaches are fine by me.

But let me tell you something; the Raymond numbers are the ones that beguile and fascinate me the most at this point. Hold On is unexpectedly jaunty in tone, music and words, while I Was Beautiful When I Was Alive is an awesome contemplation on the impermanence of existence with an almost confrontationally rocky coda. At this point, the best track for me is Steady State, which is Alka Selzer for the hangover on the morning after the 60s. It’s reminiscent of Tomorrow Never Knows, but we could equally be in 1972; a swooning, transcendent, proggy, psych anthem that is probably the finest thing he has ever written. I love it.

TFC album explored, I headed out to see The Wedding Present with my pal Ginger Dave. At the Sage, the venue was approximately 80% full and Mr Gedge was doing his usual gladhanding at the merch stall; I love this about him. He’s genuinely honest and engaging with the people who go to see him. I suppose that’s exactly the same with TFC, or specifically Norman as the others can seem a bit shy. I bought a CD of Going, Going for £10 and had it signed by the auteur himself. Not only did it contain 20 tracks, comprising an impressive 73 minutes of music, but it was accompanied by a DVD of all the promo films the band would be playing along in front of. Now don’t get me wrong, some of the images were quite affecting and intriguing in a quiet way, but when the band really hit form, as they did for most of the night, you simply forgot about the back projection and watched them absolutely tear the place up. The energy David Gedge expends during live shows is something to marvel at.

In total contrast to the Fannies, The Wedding Present are not a democracy, but an absolute monarchy. I’m not saying the man in black is a dictator or an autocrat, but this is his band and he calls the shots. Perhaps this is why he is transmogrifying into a disturbing hologram of Sam Allardyce and Nigel Farage. I’ve long speculated that he may be on the OCD spectrum as so much of the activity related to the band is always rigorously addressed in exactly the same manner, regardless of year or personnel: they don’t do encores (we know that), the bassist is always female, the inflexible insistence on playing the back catalogue in a particular order, the fact Gedge always wears a black shirt and black trousers, his unnerving habit of staring intently at his fretboard. Yet this is not a problem as, rather like the reassuringly familiar nature of Gerry, Norman and Raymond’s style of songs, this provides security and comfort for the listener. We are in our constantly evolving and expanding comfort zone, being guided gently to new horizons by TFC and belligerently shoved on our way by The Wedding Present.

The one way in which TWP really shook things up at the Sage was in not playing the album in the exact order it appears on record. Indeed, they took the stage to a backing track of a poetry recital. The last time I heard something similar, The Manic Street Preachers came on stage to Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and proceeded to sound like a pale imitation of The Lurkers. This time, it was my favourite English poet, the one on whom I wrote my dissertation, Philip Larkin reading his 1974 poem Going, Going; a rather vicious, nostalgic barbed attack on big business and the destruction of the English countryside. This was followed by the 4 incredible instrumentals that introduce the album; Kittery and Greenland out-Mogwai Mogwai in terms of the quiet to loud, slow to fast explosions of aural abuse layering over pastoral beauty. Sprague utilises female crooning in a way that makes it achingly reminiscent of a Manga theme tune, Studio Ghibli style.

Don’t ever get the idea these four instrumentals are fillers or self-indulgent b-sides promoted unfairly; they are essential, integral parts of the album that lead delightfully into the songs for singing. Some of the numbers we know already; Two Bridges, an elegant West Coast rock stomp, came out on 7” back in 2013, Fifty Six, which I believe to be Gedge’s age at the start of the recording process has been around on earlier tours and Rachel is simply gorgeous; a mature slice of summer love pop with nary a hint of the sardonic side to which we’ve become accustomed. There are sonic terror assaults like Bear and Birds Nest, weird wigouts like Wales and an efficient pastiche of 78 NYC punk thrash on Secretary. All in all, I’m getting the vibe it’s their best album since the reformation and it simply wipes the floor with 2012’s Valentina that sounds tame and timid in comparison. Is it as good as Seamonsters? We’re getting close.

Live, the Sage was the perfect environment for the new album; the excellence of the sound quality and comfort of being sat down helped with the whole recital ambience. I sincerely doubt that a traditional Weddoes gig would have worked with the seats in, but this did. So far in 2016, I’ve seen The Wedding Present in 3 venues, play 3 completely different sets and make each one a triumph; how I look forward my final glimpse of them in sunderland on Friday 2nd December, Ginger Dave’s birthday. Although, before that, there’s the beguiling prospect of Teenage Fanclub at Whitley Bay Playhouse on Wednesday 16th November, and before that Vic Godard with the Band of Holy Joy at the Cumberland on Friday 14th October. Incidentally, if you ask me to make a choice between Here and Going, Going then the answer is BOTH!!

Re: Rambling Impressions on Here

PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 10:35 pm
by Devotchik
pinball wrote:Thin Air is a song, Gerard tells us, “about disappearing”. Another song and another Teenage Fanclub LP about impermanence, mortality and using the time we have in this realm well. No surprises there. The irony of course is that this album is called “Here”. And that’s the point; they haven’t disappeared. No sir.

So, while multifaceted and varied in texture, there is a thread running through this. Here we are, indeed, wherever here is (time, space, place?) and Ray’s challenge to us is “what are you gonna do, what are you gonna do about it?” And as if a set-up call and response, Gerry has the perfect retort; “I withstand”, he calmly imparts, “I withstand”. And how.

Gerry has long been my touchstone. I think his work as Lightships is/was awe-inspiring and it feels to me that he has grown in confidence as a writer and a singer to the extent that I regard him as the finest of my generation. I can certainly hear some Lightships echoes on these songs (I Have Nothing More to Say would fit nicely onto Electric Cables, no?) and I also wonder if he’s brought some of the learned production techniques and effects to the table. Thin Air also sounds great and It’s a Sign harks back to some of his soul stylings we’ve grown to love. However, for me the rising chorus with smattering of trumpet on the First Sight is this release’s Love bomb.

For me, the album’s only weakness, if it has any, is also its greatest strength. Thematically, it feels like it’s a bit more of the same. Great, right? I’ve always loved them for what they did, not for what they might change into. Like Norman said recently, people don’t buy a Fanclub record looking for the dubstep crossover. Or something.

Speaking of Mr Blake, broadly speaking, that is, I prefer his songs on this record to the last two. He’s pop, for me, is Norman. To Gerry’s soul and Raymond’s folk. When I first heard I’m in Love, I recognised the directness immediately but unlike Baby Lee and more like It’s All In My Mind, I like it more than I did now than I did on first listen. My favourite of his on this album had a similar effect on me “ah, textbook”, followed by “ahhh”, The Darkest Part of the Night harks back to “Did I Say”. No bad thing. The album closer, for me, is perhaps Norman bringing a little of the New Mendicants sound to the Fanclub and I can’t help but wonder if he’s thinking about his daughter here. Beautiful, affecting stuff.

That song also showcases the production on this album. Man Made was knowingly sparse and it felt like Shadows was a move back to a bigger sound. That sound is more roundly realised here and having listened to it on headphones, it’s a multi layered approach which is rewarded by repeated listening. It IS still getting better every time.

Very much like Raymond, then. Jesus this is good stuff. Last time round, I was blown away by The Fall. But, to be fair, he’s been mining a rich reflective vein for a while with genius like The World’ll be Okay, Don’t Hide, Only With You, Today Never Ends. This time With You is perhaps my favourite and while Hold On is a welcome step up in tempo, the play-out of I Was Beautiful When I Was Alive, already reference above, which doesn’t make us wait too long for the drumbeat to land, refers back to the same device at the end of the aforementioned The Fall. Bliss.

I don’t know how much their sojourns in other musical climes have had on team Fanclub’s contributions to this album but it feels like they really wanted to revisit some of their old musical haunts. It would be enough if they were “just” here, but they aren’t, perhaps absence made their well/sleeve-worn hearts grow fonder, as it does for us. Their songs may be concerned with the limitations of our temporal existence, but so what, they are here now, here forever and for some of us that is as close to a spiritual experience as we need or want.


Nice to read your thoughts, I know you are (like Tom was) a Gerry song person.. I agree with the Gerry songs sounding like they could be lost gems from the Lightships sessions and I notice what you mean when you say about the growth of his confidence as a writer and singer.. I was always a Raymond song person first and in the early days of my fanhood I'd stand on his side at gigs to watch and listen. I think their work on outside projects have served them well for this one which I think is what you're trying to say with Norman bringing in a bit of the New Mendicants on that last song. And that last Norman song is a stunner..

Re: Rambling Impressions on Here

PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2016 12:17 am
by Kowaldoc
Here's my review of here

"It's fuckin magic"

Re: Rambling Impressions on Here

PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2016 9:38 am
by pinball
Thanks D.

Trust Gene to trump me with his!

Re: Rambling Impressions on Here

PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2016 10:12 am
by Philip624

Re: Rambling Impressions on Here

PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2016 8:19 pm
by Devotchik
Philip624 wrote:http://www.lyrics.net/lyrics/trajectory



Haha was just listening to that song when I clicked on this.. sadly it's not been added yet to their list..

Re: Rambling Impressions on Here

PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2016 11:33 am
by Gene_Clark
Philip624 wrote:http://www.lyrics.net/lyrics/trajectory


I think I've only heard the Fugazi one, which I adore & the Nick Cave one from "Abattoir Blues"

Re: Rambling Impressions on Here

PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2016 11:34 am
by Gene_Clark
pinball wrote:Thanks D.

Trust Gene to trump me with his!


ah now; don't be doing yourself down

Re: Rambling Impressions on Here

PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 10:59 pm
by WarmJets
Some thoughts about Here.

I am completely blown away by how great it is, start to finish. This album arrives at a very hard time in my life that finds me in a liminal position as my health is sort of unwell and holding there. First listen: the 45 minutes I spent with Here were amazing. I thank you, Teenage Fanclub, for the positivism of your message—it couldn’t have come at a more needed time. I’m trying to surround myself with beauty, and this record reaffirms how momentous Fanclub has been for more than a quarter-century for me. For 25+ years I’ve greeted each new album with aplomb and enthusiasm. Here finds me bedridden. It’s a balm, a channel into better days both past and, I hope, to come. With so much snark and cynicism in the world, I am proud to have aligned myself all this time with a band that has long-embraced the core of existence’s most precious component: love.

Re: Rambling Impressions on Here

PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2016 8:25 pm
by Georgia
Loved reading these.

WarmJets wrote:Some thoughts about Here.

I am completely blown away by how great it is, start to finish. This album arrives at a very hard time in my life that finds me in a liminal position as my health is sort of unwell and holding there. First listen: the 45 minutes I spent with Here were amazing. I thank you, Teenage Fanclub, for the positivism of your message—it couldn’t have come at a more needed time. I’m trying to surround myself with beauty, and this record reaffirms how momentous Fanclub has been for more than a quarter-century for me. For 25+ years I’ve greeted each new album with aplomb and enthusiasm. Here finds me bedridden. It’s a balm, a channel into better days both past and, I hope, to come. With so much snark and cynicism in the world, I am proud to have aligned myself all this time with a band that has long-embraced the core of existence’s most precious component: love.


Sorry you are unwell, Cody. Sending good vibes your way.

Re: Rambling Impressions on Here

PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2016 9:38 pm
by WarmJets
Georgia wrote:Loved reading these.

WarmJets wrote:Some thoughts about Here.

I am completely blown away by how great it is, start to finish. This album arrives at a very hard time in my life that finds me in a liminal position as my health is sort of unwell and holding there. First listen: the 45 minutes I spent with Here were amazing. I thank you, Teenage Fanclub, for the positivism of your message—it couldn’t have come at a more needed time. I’m trying to surround myself with beauty, and this record reaffirms how momentous Fanclub has been for more than a quarter-century for me. For 25+ years I’ve greeted each new album with aplomb and enthusiasm. Here finds me bedridden. It’s a balm, a channel into better days both past and, I hope, to come. With so much snark and cynicism in the world, I am proud to have aligned myself all this time with a band that has long-embraced the core of existence’s most precious component: love.


Sorry you are unwell, Cody. Sending good vibes your way.


Hey, I appreciate it! Thank you, Georgia.

Today's jam: "With You." What a soft rock gem. That chorus! Ear candy...