Teenage Fanclub Howdy!

It seems as though every time Teenage Fanclub releases a new album, the world seems like a better place. Ever since 1991's groundbreaking Bandwagonesque, Scotland's greatest band of all time have rarely delivered a less than stellar moment in their career. Howdy!, the band's sixth album, is possibly their best to date. Picking up where their last album left off, the band have continued their mission of delivering the sweetest melodies Alex Chilton never got a chance to write, with the down home feel of Gram Parsons time with the Byrds. The title, a very suitable one and nicely added touch, explains how welcome the Fannies make you feel. "I Need Direction," the first single and album track, is the album's masterpiece. From the "ba-ba-ba's" to the wonderfully warm title, the song is enough to make you believe that the band is in their prime. As always, songwriting duties are shared, with Norman Blake, Gerard Love and Raymond McGinley each contributing four songs that blend together so nicely that it becomes difficult noticing that they are three different people. A great pop record that proves that great music is still being made. (Sony)