It's impossible to count the number of clique scene reverberations that have hit British rock since the turn of the decade. Grunge, shoegazing and New Wave of New Wave for starters. Some bands are just born for them, revel in the goodies that being the hype of the season has to offer, and fade accordingly when record buyers come to their senses. Hello goodbye Chapterhouse. Others have a personality which is a mixture of warmth and steel, and simply ride them out. Teenage Fanclub for instance. The Glaswegians always operated outside fashionable norms and their music carries off ultra-conventional classic rock with humour and panache. But they've also always had friends that were hip - grundoid bands liked their Americana, Neil Young ilk loud guitars, and now Brit pride is in vogue, how fortunate that the Fannies are mainstays on the best British indie label, Creation. Onlookers who've watched Teenage Fanclub making their ramshackle way through five albums have probably expected things to go horribly wrong for the band by now, but only the exceedingly patchy 1993 album Thirteen was a low point. The 1995 newie Grand Prix thankfully makes up for it by being breathtaklingly superb. Save new drummer Paul Quinn, each member invests his own songs with finely honed dynamics, nagging harmonies and deceptively simple lyrics.
Live, the days when erstwhile drummer Brendan O'Hare performed cartwheels instead of tending his sticks are long gone. They are mellow, yes. But the best they've ever been? No doubt at all.
Teenage Fanclub, Shepherd's Bush Empire, W12 (0181-740 7474) tonight