Edinburgh indie-pop act The Spook School smash any notion of Second Album Syndrome on the excellent ‘Try To Be Hopeful’
aving announced themselves as an indie-pop band of vigorous potential on their 2013 debut Dress Up, Try To Be Hopeful sees Edinburgh four-piece The Spook School join the selection of bands that are smashing the notion of a sophomore slump in 2015.
Dress Up combined the charm of indie-pop, the cacophony of indie-rock, the addictiveness of C86 and the vibrancy of pop-punk to superb effect, and Try To Be Hopeful doesn’t deviate from the blueprint mapped out two years ago. It means that tracks like Friday Night – reminiscent of the sadly departed Standard Fare – the Buzzcocks-esque Books And Hooks And Movements and glistening Binary could sit happily on Dress Up.
That’s not to stay that The Spook School have stood still, though. Quite the opposite. The brilliant opener Burn Masculinity and K Records via All Girl Summer Fun Band appeal of Everybody Needs To Be In Love ring with the sound of a band whose songwriting is growing sharper and is possessed of an ever more anthemic pop appeal. This last quality is felt strongest on Richard And Judy and Vicious Machine, which have echoes of one of indie-rock’s most recent ‘what ifs?’
The reformation and recent comeback album of The Libertines has brought the broken glass of Pete Doherty and Carl Barât’s idealistic vision for indie-rock back into focus. And say what you will about Pete and Carl, they at least aspired to make pop mean something, or more accurately, for it to describe what it meant to find yourself in the sense of adolescence that begins in your teens and sticks until life beats it from you.
While fans pine for the memory of ‘Albion’ that addiction and mediocrity turned to a corpse, Try To Be Hopeful sees The Spook School making pop music that does mean something and marks them as a band to be remembered as a rite of passage right now.
Verdict: Indie-pop with heart and substance