I suppose there's a lot going on in the lyrics here that some writers will address. I'm hesitating even attempting to tackle those "gender issues" that others have pointed out in this band's lyrics as 1) they are not the main reasons that I love this album and 2) the music is so good, so direct, and so buoyant that an understanding of those things will not make Try To Be Hopeful by The Spook School any better than it already is. But those things are there and they add some depth to this, of course.
Out on November 27 officially, this new one from the Glasgow band is a largely bouncy affair full of the sort of cod-C86 riffs that about 5 dozens bands have attempted since the actual C86 era. On stuff like "Friday Night" one could almost say that The Spook School have mastered this sort of thing. The genre is done proud by this record, I guess I'll say.
Elsewhere, on "Speak When You're Spoken To" for instance, the shadow of Bis raises its head but rather than sound dated, that template has been revitalized for the 21st century. The Spook School have found what makes this sort of thing work so well and most of the cuts here crackle with a lot of energy. Opener "Burn Masculinity" positively bursts out of the speakers -- or headphones, as my case may be -- with a sort of directness that is altogether invigorating. That the lyrics attempt to make some serious points with a degree of wit is another thing to be commended here.
"Everybody Needs To Be in Love" manages to channel The Wedding Present in its title, and The Shop Assistants in its sound. It's a marvelous thing and on paper it might sound like the desperate flailing of a younger indie band but it's remarkably assured material here on Try To Be Hopeful. This lot are the real deal, in other words.
By the time that "Binary" rolls around, a listener is ready to embrace the band's more serious lyrical concerns 'cause this music so easily recalls stuff like "I Believe" by The Buzzcocks.
Try To Be Hopeful by The Spook School is out in about 11 days or so. It's gonna get a lot of press...by writers better than me, obviously. And they're probably gonna highlight some lyrical concerns on this one but, fret not, 'cause this is a record that is easy to love. And that counts for a lot these days.