Teenage Fanclub - Man-Made - New LP
Consistently cranking out song after song of well-written melodic rock that references such icons of the genre as the Byrds, the Beach Boys, Badfinger, and yes Big Star. With 2005's Man-Made can Tortoise be added to that list? Well, sort of. Recorded at Tortoise frontman John McEntire's Soma studio in Chicago with McEntire at the controls and sometimes the keys, Man-Made is both all that one might hope a paring of classicist power pop and avant-garde post-rock could be, and then, depending on which end of the indie rock spectrum you're coming from, perhaps slightly less. Upon hearing that the notoriously homebound boys from Glasgow were going to board a plane to the States, and enter the mad science lab of the man known for odd time signatures and archaic keyboards it raised expectations -- perhaps unfairly -- that the resulting album would be something unexpected and maybe even revolutionary. However, as is the tradition with most power pop craftsmen, the general approach is to aim for the perfect pop song each time out, resulting in albums that are rarely disappointing for fans, but which can rarely claim innovation or edginess. Happily, Man-Made lives up to this tradition and is as good an album as any Teenage Fanclub has made since Grand Prix. That said, given the high expectations of working with a maverick iconoclast like McEntire, even a longtime fan might be somewhat disappointed that the album isn't more than yet another solid Fanclub release. Though production is subtle, his unique aesthetics are definitely apparent as odd keyboards and sundry other inevitably electronic apparatuses bubble and bleep just below the surface of fuzzed-out guitars, chugging basslines, and layered vocals.