Posts from 18th October 2000

18
Oct 00

TEENAGE FANCLUB – “I Need Direction”

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TEENAGE FANCLUB – “I Need Direction”

Every forward-looking critic has a classic-rockin’ skeleton in their cupboard, some band that makes them cough, shuffle and reach for the MOJO Style Guide: “wonderful harmonies…..craftsmanship….it’s the songwriting, stupid….”. Secretly, they know that there’s precious little to choose between their pet band and anybody else’s, but once upon a time that band wrote a track which turned their heart inside out, and who knows but that they might not do it again? I suppose Teenage Fanclub, boring and reliable and soft like an old jumper, are that band for me.

“I Need Direction” hasn’t changed my mind about Teenage Fanclub and it won’t change yours. It almost defies reviewing – it has, um, wonderful harmonies, and it’s really….crafted. And the songwriting’s on point….although actually, Teenage Fanclub have never been that great at harmonies, or songwriting: they get by on being essentially likeable triers. If they could write the killer hooks their fanbase like to think they can, they’d be richer and smugger men by far. Fanclub songs feel cosy and familiar while you’re listening, and they always cheer you up – which really aren’t bad things for a band to be good at, but not the stuff of stardust. “I Need Direction” – apt title, that – comes backed with a slow one (stay away from the slow ones, lads, is my advice) and a pointless Pixies cover. It has a lovely guitar figure underpinning it, and it does all the right “ba-ba-ba” stuff, and I enjoy it, and I’ve forgotten how it goes already.

PILOT – January

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PILOT – January

You think I’m going to do twelve months of this crap, you’ve got another thing coming.

All that said though, January by Pilot is a godawful piece of shit which does deserve a singular bashing. I think many of us could agree that the month of Januiary is not exactly a bundle of laughs. Now the idiosyncrat that I am has a soft spot for it, basically because the pubs get shot of all the pre-Christmas amateur drinkers and I can stretch my legs. But even I resent the cold and the slush and the massive Jan 1st hangover.

All that said – I am not sure it was wholly fair that Pilot blamed their “sicked and tiredness” upon January. Its always the sign of a poor loser to blame things out of their control for being miserable. Surely they could have looked to their own laurels, their own cod sing-song choruses and feeble instrumentation. Harmonies which can only be achieved by a cheesy grin and a thumbs up sign – which belies the sadness at the heart of the song. January was Pilot’s biggest hit. They tried to follow it up with a song about February – which bombed. They were then Marched out of their record company offices with a P45. No-one was singing “don’t go” then.

The Cider Armadillo

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The Cider Armadillo: Tom appears to be posting much up on Blue Lines that would fit happily here too. To wit the secret arts of the Cider Armadillo – as taught to us by Exeter City’s finest Tim. Now I cannot say I strictly approve of novelty drinks in pubs, having downed one too many Campari, Baileys and Pernod threesomes in early youth – but there is somethign rather appealing about the armadillo. Whilst I have never been bold enough to dive head on in for the full Zyder Army experience it has the benefit of tasting – on a cursory sip – slightly nicer than its two original elements.

On a full pint you get the gabbling incoherence that was Tom last night. I certainly remember him being extraordinarily put out when – idiosyncratically – Bilko got court-martialed at the end of last nights episode. I blame the poor writing on Neil Simon.