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he's electric -- teenage fanclub's gerard creates sublime solo album

Most bands would consider themselves blessed to have one consistently excellent songwriter in their ranks, while having two members who can pen quality tunes places an outfit in Lottery-winning territory. Teenage Fanclub have three.

Emerging from Glasgow in 1990 with the feedback-drenched but beguilingly melodic Everything Flows, the Fannies remain one of the great power pop bands with Norman Blake, Raymond McGinley and Gerard Love all sparking off each other with distinctive yet complementary writing styles. The latter has gifted us such gems as Sparky's Dream, Ain't That Enough, Don't Look Back, Radio, Hang On, I Need Direction and the peerless, effervescent pair Star Sign and Sparky's Dream and now Love has unveiled a solo sideline in the form of Lightships.

That a Gerard Love solo project should contain sumptuous melodies is a given -- after all, I doubt that many Fannies' fans were expecting a detour into Death Jazz Electronica -- but with Electric Cables he's delivered a collection which is at once familiar and inventive.

The overall sound on the album veers close to the 1960s-influenced chamber pop of I Need Direction, with the deceptively simple tunes augmented by instrumentation which includes flutes and glockenspiels.

However, rather than take away from the essence of the tunes, these lovingly arranged ornamentations give the record a seductive, pastoral feel which is, not to put too fine a point on it, utterly lovely.

Ideally enjoyed as a whole, the record does contain standout tracks in Sweetness in her Spark and The Warmth of the Sun.

>Electric Cables by Lightships is on release through Geographic/PIAS.

> George Byrne


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