Teenage Fanclub release their new album Nothing Lasts Forever via their own label PeMa.
Lead off single Foreign Land is the opening track on Teenage Fanclub’s eleventh full studio album Nothing Lasts Forever. That track - and the rest of this beautifully rich and melodic album - is the sound of a season’s end, of the last warm days of the year while nights begin to draw in and thoughts become reflective and more than a little melancholy.
That reflection is everywhere on the record, whether on the autumnal folk rock of Tired Of Being Alone that repositions Laurel Canyon to somewhere deep in the heart of the Wye Valley, the William Blake quoting Self-Sedation or on the song that preceded Nothing Lasts Forever’s completion, last year’s I Left A Light On, where a spark of hope is kept alight at the end of a relationship.
One of the recurring themes on Nothing Lasts Forever is light, as a both a metaphor for hope and as an ultimate destination further down the road. Although the band’s songwriters Norman Blake and Raymond McGinley found themselves touching on similar themes, it was pure coincidence.
Raymond: “We never talk about what we’re going to do before we start making a record. We don’t plan much other than the nuts and bolts of where we’re going to record and when. That thing about light was completely accidental; we didn’t realise that until we’d finished half the songs. The record feels reflective, and I think the more we do this thing, the more we become comfortable with going to that place of melancholy, feeling and expressing those feelings.
Norman: “These songs are definitely personal. You’re getting older, you’re going into the cupboard getting the black suit out more often. Thoughts of mortality and the idea of the light must have been playing on our minds a lot. The songs on the last record were influenced by the breakup of my marriage. It was cathartic to write those songs. These new songs are reflective of how I’m feeling now, coming out of that period. They’re fairly optimistic, there’s an acceptance of a situation and all of the experience that comes with that acceptance. When we write, it’s a reflection of our lives, which are pretty ordinary. We’re not extraordinary people, and normal people get older. There’s a lot to write about in the mundane. I love reading Raymond Carver. Very often there’s not a lot that happens in those stories, but they speak to lived experience.”
The band recorded Nothing Lasts Forever - Blake, McGinley along with Francis Macdonald on drums, Dave McGowan on bass and Euros Childs on keyboards during an intense ten-day period in the bucolic Welsh countryside at Rockfield Studios, near Monmouth in late August. You can hear the effect of that environment on the record - it’s full of soft breeze, wide skies, beauty and space.
One of the most striking lyrics on the record is on the closing track I Will Love You. A gorgeous seven minute almost Kosmiche acoustic daydream drone, it looks to a point beyond the fury and polarisation of our modern discourse, to a time when “the bigots are gone/after they apologise/for all the harm that they’ve done”. Looking for positives while faced with the grim realities of the 21st century feels very Teenage Fanclub - a band who’ve been a force for good for over three decades and who can effortlessly turn melancholy into glorious, chiming harmony.