The Spook School
If a debut LP is an artist’s introduction to the world and their sophomore release is their now-or-never moment, their third is their most cathartic. Glasgow,Scotland’s indie pop optimists The Spook School, despite personal and political obstacle, made it out, and their latest full-length Could It Be Different? is here. It’s been a journey of self-discovery and feel-good realism; modern, dance-friendly indie pop fueling the fun. They made a name for themselves for their exultant and empowering pop, and now, they’ve shown real growth in nuance.
The Spook School are Nye Todd (guitar/vocals), Anna Cory (bass/vocals), Adam Todd (guitar/vocals) and Niall McCamley (drums). Since forming in 2012, they’ve released two records to critical acclaim: 2013’s Dress Up, a gender-binary eradicating release—noisy, cheery pop critical of social construction and its limitations, and 2015’s Try to Be Hopeful, a celebration of queer and trans identities from a place of newfound self-assurance.
Could It Be Different? Is, well, different—it’s a collaborative album of personal storytelling that works through life’s hardships with positivity—even at their most beaten down, The Spook School manage to find hope free of naivety. That’s clear the second the album opens with “Still Alive,” and its ascending chorus (and soon-to- be crowd favorite) of “Fuck You, I’m Still Alive,” written by Nye after surviving an emotionally abusive relationship. The song avoids villainizing the past, instead, it celebrates the present and welcomes the unknown future.
Could It Be Different? is a human release—a record full of the insecurities and anxiety that arrive after self-awareness, in learning something new and potentially frightening about yourself. But at it’s heart is joy—there’s no desolation on the LP, because The Spook School manage to find light in moments of darkness. All things glum must pass—even if hope comes only in the form of acceptance.
“We try to take sad songs and not shy away from them, but come out thinking ‘things will change.’ Otherwise everything would be dreadful and I feel bad enough as it is,” Niall laughs. “We need a bit of light in our lives.” Adam agrees, “We started this for fun. We want our shows to be fun. We want the people who come to our shows to feel welcomed, and to have fun. There’s a bit of party in our songs, no matter what the subject matter is.” Why cry when you can dance?
If a debut LP is an artist’s introduction to the world and their sophomore release is their now-or-never moment, their third is their most cathartic. Glasgow,Scotland’s indie pop optimists The Spook...
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