Scottish indie-poppers The Spook School have touched down among couple of labels that mark the best in twee pop and jumped-up jangle – Cloudberry and Fortuna Pop ¬– and now they tick another box in that succession with a new album for Slumberland. Toughened up and sparkled with some of the band’s best hooks yet, it’s actually a disservice to lump them in with the trappings of Twee, rather this is elastic, anthemic indie-pop to its core. The record swells with a kind of wide-eyed defiance that’s hosting a tug-o-war between earnestness and skepticism. They’re capturing that moment when life crests from indomitable truths of youth to the solar plexus punch of reality. It’s a hard transition for anyone and tougher still is weathering the let down without hardening the heart of the bearer. As they so adeptly surmise, “teenage hopes are never less than perfect, anyway.”
The band whips up the manic emotions of pre-adulthood with a crush of frothing guitars, spinning through vignettes of self-acceptance, self-confidence and self-awareness in dizzying rotoscope. Despite quite a bit of the heavy lyrical matter, the record still comes off as a celebration of youth rather than an exorcism of anguish. Would It Be Different? is bittersweet, crushing, uplifting and damnably catchy through it all. They pick up the yoke laid down by dozens of Scot-poppers before them and they drag the line as hard as a good many of them. This seems like a turning point for the band, out of their fawn legs and onto a surefooted future built on fizzing indie-pop with a dense tether.
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