The Spook School are back after migrating to Alcopop! to make their third album ‘Could It Be Different’. It’s a perfect build on 2015’s ‘Try To Be Hopeful’, the songs sound fuller, richer and musically more complex, but still have that energetic scrappy punk sound that makes them so great.
The first track ‘Still Alive’ is a defiant prod at anyone that has messed you around or questioned your worth. ‘Fuck you / I’m still alive / and I’m not going anywhere with you’ chants the chorus. ‘I Hope She Loves You’ talks openly about the complexity of relationships, gender and being queer; ‘Sometimes I miss you / and the times that we shared / I hope she loves you, like I couldn’t do’. Musically it builds into a track so joyous that despite it’s heartbreaking content I can already see a crowd with it’s arms wide open, no doubt these will fast become an audience favourites in the live shows.
It’s been a turbulent year to be queer, something the band don’t just touch on throughout the album, but talk about with candid honesty. ‘Bad Year’ in particular is an ode to not feeling so optimistic about the future for LGBTQ people and marginalised groups in this political climate. ‘I don’t know what to do / I want to help / I want all my friends not to be terrified’ sums up the underlying feeling of hopelessness in the face of it all, but just by recording and releasing these songs the band are part of the ever growing resistance to right wing media and transphobia. ‘Let’s pretend the worlds alright / Let’s pretend we’re doing fine’ croons Nye on the following track ‘Alright – Sometimes’ when the 3 minutes is up we’re hopeful once more that things might just be okay.
Lyrically these songs are heavy, but as always with The Spook School, they manage to use their sound to leave you brimming with hope. A sincere, beautiful record that represents and gives voice to a whole generation of LGBTQ people. It’s only just February, but this could well be the album of the year.
1. Still Alive
2. Best of Intentions
3. Less Than Perfect
4. Keep In Touch
5. Bad Year
6. Alright (Sometimes)
7. I Only Dance When I Want To
8. I Hope She Loves You
9. While You Were Sleeping
11. High School
‘Could it be Different?’ is out now on Alcopop! Records (UK) and Slumberland Records (North America)