Interesting to review `Grand Prix' from a `neutral' perspective - Teenage Fanclub is a band that had passed me by but my buddy is a massive fan and he urged me to check this one out.
The music of `Grand Prix' is laid-back, melodic guitar pop performed and produced superbly. The only pitfall with this style of music is if laid back becomes lazy but this album is a real success.
The core of the record, from `Sparky's Dream's sweet pop harmonies to `Going Places's beautiful chiming guitar work is absolutely excellent. All of these tracks have really strong melodies and are a joy to listen to. I really like `Don't Look Back' with its anthemic, cranked-up guitars; `Verisimilitude's early-REM style jangly guitar backing and satisfying keyboard chord progression and `Tears's fantastic piano and horns.
The band carries off the feat of three songwriters enhancing an album rather than being a hindrance. Unusually, all seem equally talented and their differing vocals add a welcome extra bit of variety.
The only downside for me is the end of the record. `I'll Make It Clear' and `I Gotta Know' are not up to the quality of the preceding tracks whilst the record deserves a much better closing number than `Hardcore/Ballad', an out of place experimental curiosity fit only for a B-side.
On the whole, though, `Grand Prix' is really enjoyable to listen to but if you are reading this you probably know that already!
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