SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG : #318: THE SPOOK SCHOOL

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From all music :-

Edinburgh quartet the Spook School play a brand of indie pop that combines the hookiness of C-86 bands like Shop Assistants with the punky energy of the Buzzcocks, then adds lyrics that deal passionately with sexuality and gender.

While attending the University of Edinburgh, bandmembers Nye Todd (guitar/vocals), Adam Todd (guitar/vocals), Anna Cory (bass/vocals), and Niall McCamley (drums) made their first recordings (in Adam Todd’s bedroom) and released the happily lo-fi results on cassette in 2012 with the title I Don’t Know, You Don’t Know, We All Don’t Know the Spook School.

It was followed by a single for Cloudberry Records later that year, which led to them catching the ear of the Fortuna POP! label. The indie pop mainstay signed the Spook School and released their first album, Dress Up, in 2013.

The album’s energy and raft of catchy songs earned them a burgeoning following and a slot at the 2014 N.Y.C. Popfest. That same year, their shared love of sketch comedy paid off with the band being invited to do the music for the second season of the BBC Three show Badults.

The band’s second album further explored gender identity. As Nye began testosterone therapy, his voice started changing subtly as the recording process continued. Try to Be Hopeful was issued in October of 2015, again by the Fortuna POP! label.

The group’s next appearance on record was Continental Drift, a split LP on Fortuna POP! and Slumberland that also featured songs by the Mercury Girls, Wildhoney, and Tigercats. After the 2017 holiday single “Someone to Spend Christmas With” on their new U.K. label, Alcopop! Records, the Spook School came back in early 2018 with their third album, Could It Be Different? The record addressed abusive relationships, gender issues, Brexit, and the struggle of staying alive in the modern world.

My very good friend Aldo championed The Spook School from the outset, seeing them on many an occasion across Scotland and further afield.  I was, alas, very late to the party, only catching them on a couple oof occasions around the promotion of that third album, which proved to be their last.

From Stereogum on 5 March 2019:-

The Spook School have announced that they’re breaking up. The Scottish four-piece will embark on a final tour through the UK in the summer, wrapping up in Glasgow in September.

The band has been together since 2012. They’ve released three full-length albums in that time: 2013’s Dress Up, 2015’s Try To Be Hopeful, and 2018’s Could It Be Different? They wrote giddy, ramshackle indie-pop songs about identity and self-discovery and finding a supportive community to call your own. Here is the goodbye message:-

We have an announcement.

This year will mark the end of the project known as The Spook School. Whilst it is incredibly sad we really want to look back with joy on this journey. It’s easy to forget all the things we managed to achieve with close to zero knowledge of how the music industry works (we still don’t really understand a lot of it!).

We started as friends and we are ending the exact same way. We still love each other and in the future we will continue to work together on creative projects but real life has a habit of getting in the way and eating up time and energy. We just can’t devote ourselves to the band the way we want to anymore and we would rather go out with a fanfare than let The Spook School drift quietly away.

We have achieved so much more than we ever thought possible and we are so, so grateful for everything we got to experience. We have met so many people and seen so much of the world that would have remained hidden from us if it wasn’t for this band.

It has been 8 years, 3 albums, countless silly covers, hundreds of adventures, and one highly unofficial endorsement from Linda McCartney’s Vegetarian Sausages. We will never forget our time as The Spook School.

Finally, we want to say thank you to you. Thank you for your support, it truly has meant so much to us. We are full of self-doubt and constantly questioning ourselves and to have such positive people coming to our shows and listening to our music is infectious. We have written about incredibly personal things and that sense of community and of having a support network has been so beautiful. If our music has made even the smallest positive contribution to anybody then we can be exceptionally proud.

It has been a pleasure and a privilege to play for you.

Lots of love and always try to be hopeful,
AC, Adam, Nye and Niall

I’ve picked up all three albums and there are some magical moments on each of them.  I thought the best thing today would be to offer up one track from each of them.

mp3 : The Spook School – I’ll Be Honest (from Dress Up)
mp3 : The Spook School – Richard and Judy (from Try To Be Helpful)
mp3 : The Spook School – Still Alive (from Could It Be Different)

Warning….the last of the above tracks has a sweary sing-a-long chorus.

JC

2 thoughts on “SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG : #318: THE SPOOK SCHOOL

  1. I was fortunate enough to hear of the band and attend one of their earliest gigs in 2011. I think its fair to say they set the place alight. They did well – albeit in a smallish way . The cruel world of pop could have been kinder to them.

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