Since 2000's Howdy!, it seems as if Teenage Fanclub's three singer/songwriters -- guitarist Norman Blake, bassist Gerard Love, and guitarist Raymond McGinley -- are on track to deliver a new album every five years. For longtime fans who remember the first time they heard "The Concept" off the band's classic 1991 album Bandwagonesque, that level of output may seem a bit stingy, but when considering TFC's consistently high-quality songwriting, no true "Fannie" fan is likely to complain. In that sense, Teenage Fanclub's 2010 album Shadows is a sparkling and reflective follow-up to the band's stellar 2005 effort, Man-Made. Released on the band's own Pema imprint in the U.K. -- Merge in the U.S. -- Shadows picks up on the introspective, world-weary quality of Man-Made but also delivers a bit of the classic bright pop the band is known for. Where Man-Made found the band struggling with feeling like life was an illusion on the dogged "It's All in My Mind," here you get Love's breezy baroque pop statement of purpose "Sometimes I Don't Need to Believe in Anything," with its chorus of layered synth, strings, flutes, and sundry wind instruments. Similarly, Blake's leadoff single "Baby Lee" is a romantic '60s-styled folk-rocker that veritably shimmers with positive vibes. Elsewhere, Love's "Into the City" is a sunshine pop/country-rock love letter to urban days in the sun and McGinley's "Today Never Ends" is slow-burn psychedelic country-rock rumination on the past, the present, and a perfect day that never ends. If the day is as sun-drenched and relaxed as the songs on Shadows implies, then may it and Teenage Fanclub go on and on.
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AllMusic Review by Matt Collar