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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Teenage Fanclub
Man-Made
Merge Records

Rating: 8/10 ?


July 14, 2005
I always find a bit of humor while browsing the pre-made collections of music services like BMG and Columbia House. There is doubtlessly always a category called "Five Star Albums You May Have Missed," or something of the sort, where legendary works are just begging, screaming for unknowing tweens to hand over their $5.99 and please give them a try. It's as if to say: They're good! They're not Avril Lavigne, but they're good, we promise!

Sandwiched between Big Star's #1 Record/Radio City and the Posies' Dear 23 is always Teenage Fanclub's Bandwagonesque, and for good reason. Teenage Fanclub's quest to create the perfect pop song is legendary, and should be noted by anyone, at any age, willing to lend an ear. Here's to hoping a few extra kids borrow their Mom's credit card this month (with permission, natch) to pick up something musically nutritious, as Teenage Fanclub just keeps working out more and more configurations of perfection.

Man-Made won't disappoint, just as their marvelously consistent catalog should have proven by now. Teaming up stateside with Tortoise's John McEntire, it is immediately more slanted than their standard fare - incorporating electronic elements and seething mystery at times - but it still sounds like Teenage Fanclub, which is, on all counts, a thoroughly good thing.

Beginning with the charging Badfinger homage, "It's All In My Mind," we hear a nice mesh acoustic strands and sharp, snappy drum sounds to complement the band's rolling harmonies, and with its spirit of exploration, it is a wondrously symbolic start to the album. From the very opening notes, you can hear Teenage Fanclub is certainly not averse to trying anything McEntire delivers to the table.

Such modern fancy is apparent at many points throughout the album: "Time Stops" has fitting elements of fuzz, jazzy interludes and a mingling of vintage and modern pieces; "Cells" harbors edgy, orchestrated synths to buffer the Eagles-like sound and the voluminous "Fallen Leaves" is filled with windy vocals and electric guitars, the textural balance of which is impossible to resist.

Yes, there are still wholly AM Gold standards like the rainy, deadpan "Save," and songs that sound so easily created, like "Flowing," that we long to find their inspirational fountain (wherever mystical it may reside), but it's moments like those in "Feel" that mark Man-Made's uniqueness among Teenage Fanclub albums: the wonderful elasticity of the modern guitar noise sidles up appealingly next to the song's CSNY-drenched sound. It's evident that Blake, Love and McGinley (with the help of their friend and fan, Mr. McEntire) are revitalizing the old pop sounds they love, making them ready for a new youth culture's embrace.

With a vast array of choppy rock guitars, jazz piano tinges, swirling keys and surges of sharp energy, the modern elements throughout Man-Made allow it to stay immersed in sweet 70s nostalgia while still being shunted swiftly to the current climate. Closing with what sounds, at first, like a fittingly intimate number (the soft, vocal-focused "Don't Hide"), the track and the album end in a flourish of roaring guitars, not to be forgotten; the moment is another fitting symbol of Teenage Fanclub's ultimate quest: to make sure musical legends live on, generation to generation.

Reviewed by Sarah Peters
A former music editor and staff writer for LAS, Sarah Peters recently disappeared. Perhaps one day she will surface again, who knows.

See other reviews by Sarah Peters

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