(Had me a blast). It’s been a good old week, all things considered. I’m still basking in the afterglow of my team beating one of the great unwashed in a national cup final at the national stadium, the frantic pace of work is slowing down in preparation for the Easter holidays, I’ve got a new bike that I plan to cycle for miles and miles and the sun has been shining as if March thinks it’s July. I drove home today, window down to the sounds of Lee Perry and his dubby Jah-maica-ca-ca-ca riddims, convinced I was stopping tomorrow for yer actual summer holidays. Mad March, eh?
Even better than all of the above was the discovery of one of those wee bubble-wrapped envelopes on my door mat when I got in. I don’t buy that much new music, but inbetween the obscure soul stuff from 1971 and the Brazilian garage punk from 1964 (and the new Weller album, still unconvinced t’be honest), there’ll always be a place for Teenage Fanclub and anything related. Bass player Gerard Love has been working on his solo album for, ooooh, ages, if you believe some sources. Anyway, he’s finally got around to releasing it and ‘Electric Cables‘ by Lightships is now out (or in 4 days time if you didn’t pre-order it). But you knew that already.
First impressions? Well, this is the best Teenage Fanclub album they’ll never release. If you’re a fan of the Gerry tracks of old, especially the more recent Shadows-y stuff, you’ll like it. Everyone’s out right now, so I have the pleasure of listening to it not on my PC or in the car or through my crappy iPod headphones, but extra-loud via my big old Denon seperates. The way music was intended to be heard. It sounds analogue. Old, but in a good way. Everything about it is warm, woozy, wistful; Mellow. Guitars chime, basslines frug, pastoral flutes flitter their way in and out of the melodies like butterflies in high summer. I’m sure you get the idea….
Perhaps at first you’ll think it’s missing some of those close-knit harmonies we’ve come to expect from his day-job band, but by the second and third listen, wee nuggets of golden sound start sticking their head up from the background and weave their magic. Lead track Two Lines is a thing of beauty, all understated guitars and organ that goes on and on, riding a wave of melancholy. First single Sweetness In Her Spark is much the same, with its great cooing vocals in the background and perfect lyric. Some of the video was filmed just down the road from me, at Troon Harbour, fact fans. Elsewhere, vocals soar, delayed guitar riffs fade in and out and those Fanclubesque harmonies begin to appear. I have to admit, I’ve always been a Norman kinda guy, but between Shadows and Electric Cables, I’m fast turning into Gerry’s number one fan. This album is already my Sound of the Summer and it’s not yet April.
Duh. When ordering the album I shoulda ordered the 7″ of Sweetness In Her Spark. It’s backed by a cover of Moondog‘s 1978 ‘Do Your Thing‘. Moondog’s original is half way down here.
Lightships’ version is here:
Good, eh? I’m now off here.
If you haven’t already done so, get yourself over here pronto and find out what Gerry’s favourite records are. S’a good read, even if The Man* deleted all the files that go with it.
*not yer man Gerry, but the actual Big, Bad internet Man.
Breaking News! Breaking News! Breaking News!
The words ‘remix‘ and ‘Teenage Fanclub’ aren’t something you usually read in the same line, but you can get yourself a free download of the Raf Daddy remix of album opener Two Lines over here at Soundcloud. Not a patch on the album version (it’s the aural equivalent of drawing a moustache on the Mona Lisa) but, hey, if you’re a geeky completist you’ll need it.