I got this album in 1991 on a pre-release. Listening to it then I couldn't believe that a band had made such a gorgeous timeless collection of music. I have had to buy this FIVE times now due to wearing it out or giving it away in moments of elated altruism. Live, the band still pull a few of these songs out, and despite making about six albums since, they have not bettered it, well maybe close with Grand Prix, but THIS IS THE ONE. Stop reading and buy it... or come and see me and I'll give you mine!
As a Joy Division and Nick Cave fan, this isn't the kind of album I'm meant to like. However, this album simply contains more perfect pop songs than any other album. It is highly derivative of the Beatles, Byrds, Big Star, Faces, Slade, Stone Roses, but it actually adds to all to its sources to produce the perfect retrospective of all that has been good about pop over the previous 30 years (now 40 years !). In particular, The Concept must have the best opening lines of any song "She wears denim whereever she goes, says she's going to buy a record by the Status Quo". "What you do to me" is one of the simplest 3-line songs endlessly repeated but endlessly catchy - it puts an ear-to-ear grin on my face and makes me remember the joy of falling in love for the first (and second, and third ...) time. The second half of the album is simply flawless - Starsign, Metal Baby, Pet Rock, Sindwinder, Alcoholiday, Guiding Star and Is this music is probably the greatest sequence of songs ever put together by any band - there simply isn't a flaw in any of them. Alcoholiday encapsulates the enjoyment of completely losing control and responsibility, and getting f***ed by some complete stranger. Guiding Star sums up the feeling of hero-worship that all of us have at some point felt, and felt half-ashamed of, but still succumbed to. No matter that the object of Norman Blake's hero worship (Alex Chilton) was not a very nice man. What really stands out over the whole album is the Norman Blake's raw vocals, the jangling and slightly delayed chords, the quality of the lyrics, subject matter (there's simply no substitute for teenage kicks when it comes to pop song lyrics), and the fact that it sounds like the kind of album the Beatles should have made, but never did. If they have school discos in heaven, then Bandwagonesque is the first disc on God's playlist.
Scotland's Teenage Fanclub is one of those bands that you simply have to love. They're adorable. Their songs are like warm sweaters that never go bad. `Bandwagonesque', their 1991 debut, gained fame by being the album that knocked the titanic `Nevermind' off the charts. But it's not for nothing; each song is heartbreaking and/or uplifting, like Big Star...but with better harmonies. Seriously, their singing voices are THAT good. "December", "The Concept", "What You Do To Me", "Pet Rock" are all amazing songs, with harmonies and arrangements that Brian Wilson would kill for (and probably would if he used his mental illness for evil) Get this album. Listen to it at least a dozen times, and tell me how it recklessly pulled your heart-strings till breaking point.
Loads of people maintain that Grand Prix is better, and as far as a collection of songs by a fine British band at their peak goes, you can see why - "Sparky's Dream" and "Niel Jung" are among the best songs they ever did...For that matter, "Ain't That Enough" and "I Don't Want Control of You" are another couple of blinders from "Songs From Northern Britain"...But the thing about "Banwagonesque" is its cohesiveness - it sounds like a Proper Album; its twelve songs hold together as a unit, and - dare I say it - the record takes you on a journey, in the way that all the best albums do. From the unforgettable start of "The Concept" ("She wears denim wherever she goes/Says she's gonna buy a record by the Status Quo/Oh yeah...") to the winddown after the party that is "Is This Music?", this is a record that demands to be listened to. And while it wears its influences brazenly on its sleeve, its unrelenting inventiveness, unpretentiousness and sheer ebullience make it a must-have for anyone who loves great pop songs and the buzz they give.
I remember buying this CD after hearing one track on the radio not knowing anything about the group, and once i'd listened to it i knew i was going to have to play it to everyone i knew and pass it down to my children. This record is so good for so many reasons - but there are so many reasons why it should fail. Metal cliches, hackneyed lyrics, harmonies for god sakes. If you can listen to Star Sign, Pet Rock, The Concept, Guiding Star and the glorious, wonderful (Match of the Day highlights theme !!) Is This Music ? without wanting to smile, laugh, turn the volume up and go and make music, then i despair of you . If you like melodies, rambling guitar solos, superb songs and your heart bursting with the imperfect perfection of it all -BUY THIS ALBUM NOW !!
I got this album about eighteen months ago, and while I will admit that I don't play it anywhere near as much as I should I am always completely destroyed by it everytime I hear it. the warm fuzzy rock that the fannies have produced here is such a leap on from their first album and still sounds like their most vital piece of work (even though it is probably not their best). The three songwriters (messsers blake, mcginley and love) are all present and offer superb tunes. Blakes glorious "concept" is joy and a brilliant album opener and descends into a heavenly cascade of guitars "ahhh's" and noise..mmmm. he also contributes the excellent alcoholiday which must rank up their with the best fannies tunes and comes complete with more wonderul backup vocals (you know the bit). But this album really seems to be Gerry love's. He contributes four stone cold fannies classics in "december", "is this music?", "guiding star" and the stupendous "starsign". The last mentioned song builds up to a heavenly climax of guitars before exploding into the bands most explosive condensed five minutes of brilliance. I am running out of superlatives really, but this album is a must for beatles, byrds, travis, weezer fans so make sure that you buy this, and the rest of their albums. Oh yeah, never listen to anyone telling you that thirteen isn't any good cause it might even be better than this...but that's another story.
Bought another album (Howdy) of this band and thought it was quite good. This album, on the other hand, contains a mess of random noise and is just not very good. Another CD relegated to becoming a coaster.