Hard as it may be to believe, Electric Cables – Gerard Love’s debut album under the psuedonym Lightships – is the first solo album by a member of veteran Scots indie-poppers Teenage Fanclub to be released in the band’s three decade-spanning history. With a trio of gifted songwriters (Love, Norman Blake and Raymond McGinley) sharing equal billing you would have thought if it was ever going to happen, it would’ve happened years ago, but unless you count last year’s eponymous Jonny album (which you shouldn’t, being as it was a genuinely collaborative effort, between Blake and Euros Childs of Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci), this marks the first time one of the group has broken rank to record a full set of their own compositions. And to be honest, that little nugget of information is pretty much the most interesting thing about this album. Which isn’t a bad thing, by the way; Electric Cables is the aural equivalent of a nice mug of hot chocolate curled up in your favourite chair, a pleasant and familiar experience, a little indulgence that doesn’t exactly push the boat out. There’s no risk involved; before you even press play, you know just what you’re going to get, and that’s just fine. There are a few unexpected touches – heavy use of flute and keyboard, lending tracks like “Two Lines” a hazy, psychedelic air – but the warm, country-tinged melodies and jangling Big Star guitars will be familiar to anyone who has ever heard a TFC record, and Love’s voice – with its soft, slightly Americanized burr – remains the same as it was twenty one years ago; even the supporting cast is predictable, with bandmate Dave McGowan, members of longtime buddies the Pastels and Belle & Sebastian and original Fanclub drummer Brendan O’Hare lending a helping hand. Let’s be honest though: most bands would kill to have a song as effortlessly perfect as “Sweetness In Her Spark” under their belt, and as this album proves, Love – whether with the Fannies or on his own – can write them all day long.
Electric Cables is out now on Geographic