The Spook School look on the bright side of life on ‘Could It Be Different?’

4/5 stars

Edinburgh four-piece The Spook School do not disappoint with their third full-length album.

It is a record captivated by a delightful optimism which hangs on to the band’s ‘why cry when you can dance’ attitude. Could It Be Different? is an exploration of a plethora of real-life, anxiety-churning human experiences, from abusive relationships to struggles with self acceptance, sexuality, and body image. The Spook School have developed these topics into danceable indie pop-punk anthems.

The album kicks off with ‘Still Alive’, an intensely personal narration of overcoming and leaving an emotionally abusive relationship, relating to band member Nye Todd’s own life. ‘Still Alive’ is the kind of track that promises to illuminate any live performance, with the repetition of the lyric “Fuck you, I’m still alive” taking a dark topic and turning it into a catchy, feel-good track.

Also worth recognition is ‘Keep In Touch’ which sees the band fuse their indie-pop edge and versatile vocal range to address the aftermath of losing a first love, again expressing the hardships of life via feel-good pop. The album concludes with ‘High School’, an anxious lamenting of the past, addressing a familiar feeling of wishing to change your past, or do it better.

The Spook School thrive in a celebration of trans and queer identity, a celebration which delivers a uniqueness to their sound, as their non-binary fluidity addresses issues unspoken in indie-pop culture, giving the band a freshness that will take them far.

It is easy to see how Could It Be Different? expresses a real coming-of-age for The Spook School; they have found themselves in a maturity of lyricism and crispness of production exceptionally greater than previous records, and are about to embark on a US tour — not bad for a small indie band from Scotland.

Image: Force Field PR

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