It has become de rigueur with young up and coming bands to name drop Scottish indie legends Teenage Fanclub, and NME favourites Yuck have gone as far as taking their template and reselling it to the 21st century indie masses. So the timing of this re-issue of their collection of rarities and oddities, Deep Fried Fanclub couldn’t be better timed. Unfortunately, while it’s an interesting collection of the bands odds and sods, highlighting the band’s progression from grunge to indie and beyond, it’s not the best introduction for newcomers.
The album starts well with the timeless brilliance of perhaps their best known song ‘Everything Flows’ and is sustained with some imaginative and innovative cover versions, from their enthusiastic, energetic and entertaining reworking of the Beatle’s ‘The Ballad of John and Yoko’ to their deep, dark and dangerous cover of Beat Happening’s ‘Bad Seed’. Although the inclusion of a cover of ‘Free Again’ is perhaps ill advised merely adding fuel to the fire of those long forgotten critics who accused them of being little more than Big Star copyists.
Ultimately, Deep Fried Fanclub is let down by the inclusion of too many lacklustre tracks from the bottom of the Fanclub’s barrel. While this is perhaps to be expected from a compilation album of the lesser known tracks from the band’s oeuvre, it doesn’t make it any easier to listen to. The vocal harmonies on second track ‘Primary Education’ for example are closer to the drunken warblings of an out of tune street performer than you’d expect from their later records.
It’s not easy to see why Deep Fried Fanclub has been re-released in 2011. As an historical record of the nether regions of the band’s output it’s ok. As a cash-in on their new found popularity it’s a puzzler. If you’re new to Teenage Fanclub (where have you been?) then it’s not the best introduction, you’d be better checking out Bandwagonesque instead, and long standing fans will surely already have it in their collection.