The Spook School – Try To Be Hopeful (4 stars)

The Edinburgh band serve up a breezily cheerful, sometimes dramatic album

The Spook School – Try To Be Hopeful

(Fortuna POP!)

Edinburgh’s Spook School are a band who have to exist – but then again, why should our ears put up with anyone who isn’t making good music? Much will be written of the fact that singer Nye Todd identifies as transgender (it already has been, in fact, in Rolling Stone, no less), but would the group deserve our attention if they weren’t producing music that was interesting, exciting and emotionally precise? Fortunately, the quartet’s bright indie-pop – sometimes breezily cheerful, sometimes dramatic, always steeped in the best traditions of their nation’s indie history – is addictive.

They address gender issues in succinct, well-communicated bursts of DIY guitar, with the careening ‘Burn Masculinity’ taking down male privilege on behalf of every woman, transgendered person and man who rejects it (‘I’ve got to accept that I’ve inherited a history of persecution and abuse,’ it spits), and ‘Binary’ revels in diversity (‘let it be complicated and hard to understand’). It’s confident, political even, but not one-note; ‘August 17th’ is a great ode to not feeling possessive just because you’re attracted to someone, and the title track is a swooning song of positivity for the future.

Out 9 Oct, on Fortuna POP!.

The Spook School play The Lighthouse Late at The Lighthouse, Glasgow, Fri 9 Oct and Book Yer Ane Fest at Buskers, Dundee, Fri 27–Sun 29 Nov.

The Lighthouse Late

A fabulous celebration of design, music and cinema sprawling across all five floors of The Lighthouse. This time round the night features Edinburgh experimental electro poppers FOUND, synth pop duo Apache Darling, the new formation of Meursault, Supermoon and the noisy, tuneful and triumphant The Spook School. Not…


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