Scottish indie stalwarts Teenage Fanclub present their 13th album Nothing Lasts Forever. It is both entirely what you’d expect from a Fanclub record but also showcases a band aware of their longevity, which is another way of saying they know they’re getting older. For all the typical mix of upbeat acoustic and sunny sixties psych, there is an undercurrent of melancholy throughout Nothing Lasts Forever, which is full of earnest meditations and candid takes on love, living and making the best of it all.

Perhaps it is a product of where it was borne, in the Welsh countryside at Rockfield Studio (a previous haunt for them and many a Creation group back in the day, including the Gallaghers). In the quiet surroundings, recording during the late summers and with time to reflect on over thirty years of making music, Norman Blake and Raymond McGinley are accepting of the natural passing of time. Where the 90s provided a euphoric heyday of youthful spark, the 2023 incarnation of the band still feels good about life but with a dose of wry realism too, if not a tad scunnered, with the tribalism of modern times. (“I will love you / until the flags are put down /and the exceptionalists are buried under the ground” from album closer  I Will Love You.)

Indeed, the record opens with lead single Foreign Land, a metaphor for the future:

“It’s time to move along / leave the past behind…the past’s a foreign land / I did my best you understand.”

And that sense of not only looking to the future with a smidge of hope is complemented on Tired of Being Alone by the ability to let the past be: “Memories uncovered / gone around and rediscovered / feelings now recovered“.

As a band they have also become a more democratic unit when it comes to the songwriting process, which gives the 10 tracks here a deeper, richer flavour in the rhythm section, while the keys of newest member Euros Childs, recruited for 2021’s Endless Arcade, adds refreshing contemporary melodies on songs like Middle of My Mind and It’s Alright. Where before Blake or McGinley would more or less direct a song from inception to completion, they now embrace the inherent trust among their unit with Blake saying: “Raymond or myself would just bring in the idea and people would listen and play what works with it. There’s a trust that comes from knowing each other such a long time, a kind of telepathy.

Nothing Lasts Forever is a timely record. Its recurring theme of light, as both a metaphor for hope and as an ultimate destination further down the road speaks to something we lose sight of too often. This sentiment could just as easily apply to a band who have made a career of creating upbeat but thoughtful indie pop. And don’t we all just need a wee dose of optimism right now?