Teenage Fanclub – Deep Fried Fanclub

What I Think of When I Think of This Artist (part 4)

So I just got this recently, thinking it was something I should own, as it comes from my favorite TFC period. And as I listened to “God Knows It’s True,” I realized that I owned that song on some other album, but for the life of me I can’t figure out what (nor can I find it in my collection). That’s going to drive me crazy.

What I Think of This Album

This is a collection of singles and B-sides from 1990 and a couple from 1992, predictably only appealling for hardcore Fannies fans.

The best thing is “God Knows It’s True,” which was never included on any studio album. This Norman Blake composition rivals accompanying track “Everything Flows” for guitar mastery and melodic skill, and is reason enough to buy this album. As far as legitimate deep cuts, Gerard Love’s “So Far Gone” could’ve been a key album track if they had worked harder on the vocals (this is pre-Bandwagonesque, before they started singing properly).

The rest of the originals are decidedly inessential. “Speeder” is a slack-string instrumental, powered by Brendan O’Hare’s kick drum, and while it’s not going to set the world on fire, it’s not bad at all. The hilariously titled “Weedbreak,” is another instrumental and it goes on surprisingly long without actually going anywhere. The third instrumental is “Ghetto Blaster,” and it falls between “Speeder” and “Weedbreak” on the quality spectrum, though O’Hare goes impressively apeshit on the drums. 

A demo version of “A Catholic Education” (amusingly titled “Primary Education”) is little more than a historical document, though it does reveal the boys getting silly in the studio. The alternate version of “Critical Mass” is enjoyable but not too different from the album version.

The covers are uniformly fun. The ragged run through of “The Ballad of John and Yoko” has a lot of scruffy charm. The not-at-all surprising cover of Neil Young’s “Don’t Cry No Tears” is a chiming success. A sense of defiance and exuberance pervades “I’m Free Again,” originally by Alex Chilton (Big Star); this cover was released in 1992 by K Records. “Bad Seed” is not the Beat Happening cover I would have expected TFC to choose, but they turn in an appropriately sludgy version.

The Best Thing About This Album

You know it’s “God Knows It’s True.”

Release Date

February, 1995

The Cover Art

Ugly as shit, but I have to admit, it is fully consistent with the carefree attitude of the music.

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