Teenage Fanclub are one of those bands that everyone should like. I know this because they are championed by so many people whose opinions are well-respected and count for a lot more than the average musical Joe’s, therefore, we should all appreciate their long-standing career in pop-rock. However, I defy you to name just one of their songs. Just one. That’s right, although they are a name that everybody is familiar with and knows that it’s OK to like, thanks to their championing by the likes of Nick Hornby, Kurt Cobain, et al, over two decades and nine studio albums, these Scot-rockers have yet to write a single tune that has truly permeated the public consciousness; their latest offering does not look to break this cycle.
‘Baby Lee’ is Teenage Fanclub’s homage to bands like the Shadows, with clear, thought-out verse melodies echoed on rhythm guitar, while the chorus sounds like The Kinks, had the 60s never happened. “Baby Lee, I’m only trying to remind you, they had me in mind when they designed you/Baby Lee I’m always watching from a distance/Marry marry me oh baby now I am insistent”. A far cry from the band’s chaotic debut album, this chorus posits these reformed punks as a house band in a retirement home, serenading an elderly couple celebrating their Golden Wedding anniversary. While it’s a pleasant relief to watch bands grow old gracefully, as opposed to the current trend of money-hungry old codgers shaking their bits to their early hits on stage, while the on-looking roadies try to guess whether their tragic hip-shaking is actually the onset of Parkinsons, it would seem that Teenage Fanclub have grown up a little too much and become, sorry Kurt, uncool. And I mean ‘Dad at a wedding’ uncool.