The SPOOK SCHOOL – ” Try To Be Hopeful “

Posted: December 13, 2015 in Classic Albums, MUSIC
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Edinburgh quartet the Spook School take their name from another group of four, a late 19th Century sect of the Glasgow School of Art who were given the nickname after the critically unpopular ghostly figures in their work. Later, their style helped inspire Art Nouveau, and thus the underdogs became the influencers. It is an appropriate title for a theatrical indie pop band that embraces life’s misinterpretations and messiness, and their message has never been more apparent than on their sophomore record Try to Be Hopeful the tracks are killers but lyrically August 17th & Everybody Needs To Be In Love feel like they were written for me! Speak When You’re Spoken To is an awesome song; really powerful! I bought the album only for Burn Masculinity and Binary. Because those are the only ones open to free streaming I expected the other songs to be average or sub-par. That was not the case. Speak When Spoken is easily my favourite song in the album, and it’s currently my favourite song that I listen to. It’s really powerful. track .Buy this album!

Although it was still a defining theme on their 2013 debut, Dress Up, Try to Be Hopeful finds the group writing much more explicitly about queerness and identity. As singer and guitarist Nye Todd explained in an interview, “A lot of the lyrics I wrote on our first record were about coming to terms with being trans, whereas on this one the songs are more about a feeling of ‘Yeah, this is an identity! This is GOOD!”

Edinburgh quartet The Spook School’s second album, Try To Be Hopeful, was probably one of the most triumphant albums of 2015. The album was recorded whilst guitarist Nye Todd was going through testosterone therapy, a crucial step in him embracing his trans-identity. It was a huge event in his life, and as such it in many ways shaped the formation of the albums own identity. It was an album of noisy, triumphant and tuneful pop-songs, that explored the topics of sexuality, identity, and most of all embracing the spirit of being yourself, no matter who that is.

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Burn Masculinity was about still having to challenge the casually sexist world of “lads” even though you were now, gender-speaking, one of them and Binary questioned why the world try’s to place us into their hexadecimal, black and white world of gender. Although it wasn’t all serious gender politics, I Want To Kiss You was about wanting to kiss people (obviously). It managed to tred the difficult line of tackling important issues, but with enough humour, attitude and hooks to make it just as enjoyable as it was important.

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