A band for which the word ‘quirky’ may have been invented, Teenage Fanclub had always possessed an infuriating knack of confounding expectations.
They promised so much with A Catholic Education (1990) and the majestic Everything Flows but celebrated joining the prestigious Creation label with The King, a frankly rubbish set of instrumental covers.
Having tested the patience of a once supportive music press, the knives were drawn for the Fannies when they released their masterpiece, Bandwagonesque (1991).
A high-water mark for the British indie scene’s obsession with the past, Bandwagonesque was steeped in rock tradition – Neil Young, Love, The Byrds, The Beach Boys, Big Star, even a half-ironic nod to Status Quo.
But this was a time when dance music, shoe-gazing and the fading Madchester fad still ruled, and the Fannies were labelled ‘unimaginative’ – only for Suede and Oasis to be heralded as the future of British rock. Oh, the irony.
Bandwagonesque has so many highlights that you forget it’s only a single album. Three indisputable classic Nineties indie singles (The Concept, Star Sign and What You Do To Me), three beautiful tear-jerkers (December, Guiding Star and the instrumental Is This Music?), harmonies that would make Brian Wilson blush, and a warm, overdriven edge that united Sonic Youth with The Archies.