I usually don’t stray too far from studio albums for One Band One Day, but on this occasion I’m very happy to make an exception for Teenage Fanclub’s Peel Sessions EP. Recorded in August 1990 and transmitted the following month, the EP was released in 1991, shortly before the band’s second (usual caveat: if you don’t count The King) album Bandwagonesque in November 1991.
The Peel Sessions EP captures Teenage Fanclub at a cross-roads between the murk of A Catholic Education and the gleaning glam leanings of Bandwagonesque. It’s the sound of a band unmistakably growing in confidence: listen to the way “God Knows It’s True” thunders along driven by the furious energy of the rhythm section, while Raymond McGinley’s guitar is promoted from incidental solos to genuine lead, as he takes the song’s melody and makes it his own. “God Knows It’s True” is one of two Norman Blake compositions on the EP, the other being “Alcoholiday” – the only one of the EP’s songs to appear a studio album (“God Knows it’s True” was released as a stand-alone single at the end of 1990, while “So Far Gone” was a b-side on that single, and “Long Hair” appeared as a b-side to “The Concept”).
The other two tracks, “So Far Gone” and “Long Hair”, were written by bass player Gerard Love. In time this song-writing split would be extended to include contributions from Raymond McGinley as the band gradually moved away from being dominated by Blake’s compositions. Of Love’s two songs here, “Long Hair” is the pick – only two and a half minutes long including a generous fade-out but a great example of his ability to create magic out of simplicity. On “So Far Gone” he reveals himself as the clean-cut counterpoint to McGinley’s grungeyness, setting the vocals slightly higher for less of that slacker-vibe, more of the later, lighter Fannies sound.