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4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 24 May 2005
Back after a 5 year break since their last album, Man Made sees the band remaining on good form. There are some songs that spring out immediately to you - perhaps such as "Slow Fade" - a fast paced tuneful burst of melody which draws you into the album, others take more time. The main thing to make clear is that this is a really good album but you have to listen to it a few times. Having played it a week now the hooks have really got into me. If you buy a lot of CDs and find they grace your CD player for a short time then there is a chance that you may miss the underlying beauty of this album. Do so at your peril. So what of the highlights? Well if you're looking for a starting point check out "Fallen Leaves" or the fantastic "Cell" (with its heart rending subject matter but beautiful tune) , "Its all in my mind" leaves me feeling optimistic every time i hear it.

Teenage Fanclub as a band deserve yours, mine and everyones support. They have put this album out on their own label. Consistently they write great songs, are good humoured - check them out live! No-one creates harmonies like these guys and the love of guitar in their songs is always evident.

If you're new to the band then you may want to start with Grand Prix or Bandwagonesque that have some cracking tunes.

The music world needs Teenage Fanclub. Unpretentious and great songwriters. Buy this album and spread the word (further).
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on 1 June 2005
Took a few listens but the quality of the songs doesnt take long to shine through.Like another reviewer in my opinion the songs written by Ray take longer than the others to catch on.
Those of Gerry and Norman however are typically melody laden and infectious. Born under a good sign is an electric guitar gem that makes you wanna get on yer feet and it harps back to the urgency of some of the earlier TFC numbers. The album is for me is probably the best since Grand Prix, listen after listen songs like Its all in my mind, Save, Time Stops, Feel - the list goes on are true classics - The best few quid I've spent in a while I pray to God it wont be another 4 or 5 years before we have to wait for the next release.
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on 6 May 2005
It would be wrong to criticise Man-Made for failing to replicate the faster paced thrills of Bandwagonesque, Grand Prix etc. Teenage Fanclub have musically matured, as all great groups ultimately have to. The immediacy of the songs may not be as obvious - but the beauty of tracks such as Cells, Save and Don't Hide will more than compensate for a reduction in fast thrills for any intelligent music fan. If you want the latest fashions in music - go elsewhere. Nobody out there today comes close to Teenage Fanclub for simply great songwriting.
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on 27 May 2005
teenage fanclub have made one of the most laid back, life afirming and beautiful album of this decade, it brims with musical vitality. The highlights of this album include the beautiful songs flowing, only with you and cells which are emotional yet soothing at the same time...Norman Blake continues to be the best songwriter, however the other two contribute songs which complement his songs greatly. If only teenage fanclub got the expose they trully deserve, perhaps then though it might taint their wonderfully ideallic and peaceful sound, as long as they stick around I shall be delighted. I just wish they could have another album out tomorrow as there is nothing else briming with as much musical ability and sould as this on the market... a must have for tfc fans and all good fans of music out there.....
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on 16 February 2006
"Something simple and unaffected" sang Norman Blake on 1995's Grand Prix album, and this could well describe Man Made. With more of a "live" sound than previous TFC offerings, the album continues their tradition of well played heartfelt songs. Possibly not as immediate as some of their releases but revealing hidden textures with every listen, Man Made was one of the highlights of 2005. Individual songs are difficult to highlight as the standard is so high, but the urgent guitars of "Born Under A Good Sign" and "Slow Fade" recall the bands early 90s recordings, while the predominantly acoustic "Cells" and Raymond McGinley's piano led "Only With You" show welcome diversity. All three songwriters: Blake, McGinley and Gerry Love are on form and the album works well as a whole. Another great record from one of Scotland - and the UK's - finest bands.
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on 21 January 2015
Where Shadows is McGinley's album, his songs being the strongest, with Blake's the weakest, Man-Made has Blake right at the top of the game easily outstripping McGinley and Love for quality tracks. Blake is on fantastic form with his disappointingly unmemorably titled Slow Fade, It's All in My Mind, Flowing, and the more inspiringly named Cells. These, the four Blake tracks, are easily the best songs on the album.

Where Love agonises ineffectually, Blake dispenses with mortality with ease on Slow Fade, which is bursting with life. He takes on ageing in a joyous manner, going down in great spirits. It is classic guitar-driven, tuneful Teenage Fanclub of old but given a bit of perspective. Flowing reminds of Ray Davies' (Kinks') "Days" for its simple but meaningful, stately genius. On paper, the lyrics of these two seem a little ordinary but with a little reflection are absolutely right.

Love's Born Under A Good Sign is too derivative. I'm sure I've hear this tune before. The album maintains a reasonably high quality though and is perhaps stronger than Shadows due to the aforementioned weakness of Blake's contributions on that one. I wonder what changed and if something distracted him from his music during the time after the release of Man-Made up to when Shadows was released.

Blake's "Cells" takes a fairly tired folk style and invests it with new life and the lyrics that read the best:

"The dead are stepping out tonight
The battle's lost without a fight.
Breaking down cells
Breaking down

The pity is that the rest of the song is the chorus of "cells breaking down" rather than extending the fascinating premise. Still, it's a great track and the extended, plucked acoustic guitar ending is a beauty.

Blake's first song, It's All in My Mind, is the perfect beginning to an album, it having a fascinating, engaging subject matter and imagery, something to really get a hold of as a listener. He takes on mortality again with imagination and intelligence, taking us back to the very beginning of whatever left the sea then evolved over the millions of years to become man.
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on 2 March 2010
Simply Fan-tastic. Their best album since Bandwagonesque.
Can't wait till next one due out this year.
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on 4 May 2005
It's been five years since "Howdy!", and TFC have drifted into even softer territory in their advancing years. The band are ageing gracefully, and "Man-Made" reflects a greyness at the temples and a creeping of crows feet around the eyes. I imagine they sat down a lot while recording this album.
Gentle, almost folky songs, a lifetime away from their meatier teenage years.
I've grown old with Teenage Fanclub too, and this album makes me long for the youthful vigour I had when "A Catholic Education" and "Bandwagonesque" were in my tape player.
Don't get me wrong, this is in no way a "bad" album, but it just makes me feel terribly old!
Norman, like the devil, still writes the best tunes.
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on 11 October 2005
Man Made is the first Teenage Fanclub album I've bought since Songs From Northern Britain which along with Grand Prix is the band at their best. However, Man Made is music made by grey haired old men who've thrown in the towel. It's five years since they last made a record and this is the best they could do? Three songwriters with four songs each in five years, you'd expect them to have come up with something incredible in that time but all we get are tired, weary songs by a band who just don't have it anymore. There are some shockingly weak songs on this album. The best song on the album is the opener, It's All In My Mind but it's gradually downhill after that. Nowhere has a lyric that a school kid would be embarrassed to sing and Only With You has this dumb piano part that goes on for what seems like an eternity after the song is done. Plink, plink, plink, for no reason other than to annoy you even more than the song does itself. Get Grand Prix instead and if you must buy one other Teenage Fanclub album, get Songs From Northern Britain. These guys are in their forties for gawd's sake and they're still calling themselves TEENAGE Fanclub.
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