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.