Teenage Fanclub
Howdy! CD - Creation

Scotland’s Teenage Fanclub have long been the pioneers of jangly guitar pop melodies and the champions of power-pop, and frankly, there are not many occasions to find fault with their enchanted ability to craft infectious pop songs with seeming ease. Even while many of their voluminous pop songs may sound like branches from the same melodic tree, they glimmer and entice all the same in a tuneful fashion that can only be created by the songwriting tour-de-force of Norman Blake-Gerard Love-Raymond McGinley. Howdy!, which was recorded in 2000 in the United Kingdom and had to wait another year to be released in the States, continues in much the same retro-tinged pop melodica vein as the preceding Songs From Northern Britain released three years before (has it been that long?). The production is crisp and flawless, and the album shimmers by accentuating the pop melody and downplaying the rock with lovely sweet harmonics. With a generous backing of mellotron and Hammond organ, the songs resonate in stringy guitar textures flowing seamlessly with a conscious and definite melodic direction. Occasional multi-part vocal choruses help pull in the listener with ease into a soothing realm of alluring pop songs. Every song on the album shines, as the melodic direction is maintained immaculately and the listener is likely liable to succumb to any one of the twelve tunes deliciously served here. The opener “I Need Direction” chimes in a Sixties pop melody and sets the easy mood, moving right into jangly sing-a-long moments of “I Can’t Find My Way Home”. The songs all seem to move in a seamless manner, contributing to a growing sense of pop enchantment and cheerful head swaying. Sweetly wavering guitar melodies and harmonics on “Accidental Life”, “The Sun Shines From You” and “Straight and Narrow” are at once charming and earnest, not to mention immediately infectious. The rich guitar textures are compelling yet soothing, and the melody making immaculate. Also, the harmonic enticements are employed with an uncanny focus and blend well with the power-acoustic guitar pop rhythms. A simple culmination of sorts comes in the multi-textured and swaying melody of “The Town and The City”, where highly harmonized threads splash around fuzzy guitar rhythms with a recurring “la, la, la” multi-part background chorus sweetening the pop concoction. Howdy! continues to show the enduring and timeless nature of this illustrious band, and well illustrates how much a tease they are at this point of their long pop-making history. Chalk up another victory for the evergreen charms of perfect guitar pop. (Desmond Ngiam)



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