While most bands are lucky to have one great songwriter, Teenage Fanclub are blessed with three, Raymond McGinley, Norman Blake and Gerard Love. "I suppose when you come to make a record, the way that we work, we can't really go off on a tangent because its three people writing songs; its not one persons vision," says Norman. "It's song-based, and all that we can do in terms of making it different is look at the way we arrange the songs. So we do try to make it different from album to album" Also, the way we work after all these years has become intuitive, and you just get a feel for when someone comes in with a song. Gerry'll come in and play a song and outline how he wants it to work, but at that point, he'll give us the freedom to express ourselves in that context."
The brilliance of Shadows, like all the best Teenage Fanclub records, is that it sounds like everything they've ever done and like nothing anyone else has ever done, all on one album. It may be a considered and well put-together record, but it has all the spontaneity of Bandwagonesque. It may have a deceptively simple feel, but its as polished and intelligent as Grand Prix. And despite the input of others and new ideas, it's still a record that only the three members of Teenage Fanclub could make.
"The time we spend on a record has expanded over the years, but thats natural. Twenty years ago, youre in each others pockets" says Raymond. "But everything works in a certain way, and this records spread out over a period of time." "Other people do other things and have a life," adds Gerard,"and its allowed us to participate in other musical ventures."
"Every record you do has some way it works out that isnt by design," concludes Raymond. "Things work out a certain way, and a band like us doesnt do things by design; we dont have to meet up and work out a strategy. The record is a strange amalgamation of what people are thinking and where they are. We do things intuitively."
And it shows, and it works.