The Spook School – Try To Be Hopeful
The Edinburgh band serve up a breezily cheerful, sometimes dramatic album
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.