Earlier this year, Norman Blake learned what it meant to be Canadian with a snow shovel in his hand and a toque on his head.
Having relocated from Glasgow to Kitchener-Waterloo with his Canadian wife this past winter, the Teenage Fanclub vocalist/guitarist quickly learned what it takes to live in Southern Ontario.
“The first couple of weeks we had some heavy snowfall,” he remembers over the phone from his former home. “I was terrified when I found out I had to go and clear the front yard and sidewalk. Of course, our house is on the corner so I had two sidewalks to clear. But once we got into the early part of summer and the barbecues were open, I’ve been enjoying it much more!”
A 3,000-mile transfer doesn’t seem like the ideal situation for a band celebrating their third decade, but Blake says that the transition for him and the other Glasgow-based Fannies — primarily original members and co-songwriters Gerard Love and Raymond McGinley — has been smooth so far.
“With the advent of the Internet it’s pretty easy to stay in touch,” says Blake. “And you can get cheap flights now, so if you don’t mind flying it’s not a problem at all. I’m pretty happy to go back and forth.”
That’s a good thing, considering Blake will definitely be racking up some major Air Miles with the release of Teenage Fanclub’s new album, Shadows. Their first since 2005’s Man Made, album number ten may have taken a while to get to us, but like the previous nine, it’s yet another example of the Fannies’ superiority as warm melodicists.
A reaction to the limitations of recording Man Made in Chicago, Shadows was recorded in the U.K. where the band could “back the truck up to the studio and load in all sorts of different instruments. With this record there were lots and lots of overdubs and more harmonies — we really threw the kitchen sink at this one. It was just to make the experience different.”
Blake says the gap between albums is simply because “the band has been working at that pace for the last decade. Hopefully, we’ll get more prolific and make a few more records. For some reason Teenage Fanclub has gotten into this five-year cycle.”
No matter how long it takes the band, they’re definitely more focused than ever.