The Spook School lean on their considerable comic talents for this video for live favourite “Speak When You’re Spoken To”, conceived and directed by Ben Clark, Matthew Crosby and Tom Parry of award winning comedy troupe Pappy’s. Roping in friends and supporters including comedian Josie Long, the video shows the joys and tribulations of having your very own indie band as a pet.
The band were also featured as a “One to Watch” in this month’s Observer Music Monthly, who said: “This “trans queer pop punk band” from Edinburgh have coded their second album, Try to Be Hopeful, with a specific message: celebrate diversity, ignore boundaries of sexuality and gender, be yourself and, crucially, have fun with it. The quartet make breezy, cute indie-pop fused to the bouncy punk of the Buzzcocks and Undertones. They take their message seriously, but flood their music with joy.”
The Spook School are Anna Cory (bass and vocals), Adam Todd (guitar and vocals), Nye Todd (guitar and vocals) and Niall McCamley (drums). Since forming in 2012 they’ve become increasingly involved with the DIY queer punk scene, taking inspiration from the passionate, like-minded people they’ve met along the way, and from bands such as Martha, Joanna Gruesome, Trust Fund and Tuff Love. Citing influences including Buzzcocks, T-Rex and the noisier end of C86, the new album is louder, bolder, fuller-sounding and captures more of their live sound-aided and abetted by producer MJ of Hookworms.
Try To Be Hopeful follows The Spook School’s debut album Dress Up (2013), which received plaudits from the Guardian (which featured them as a New Band of the Day), Uncut which called it “a rewarding, multi-layered debut” and Loud and Quiet which said, “this is music for the young and disillusioned, but identifiable to anyone who’s ever been frustrated by the grievances of identity and growing up.” The Spook School have since seen their music used on TV, having recorded the theme tune for BBC Three series “Badults” (Adam, Anna & Niall all have sidelines in the world of comedy), and have also toured the US, where they became the subject of a Rolling Stone documentary and met Laura Jane Grace of Against Me!.
Lyrically, Try To Be Hopeful is more direct than their first album, exploring issues around gender and identity, the destructive stereotypes that are generally accepted as the norm, and the difficulties of fighting them and building alternatives. Nye was undertaking his own personal journey during the making of the record too, beginning to really embrace his trans identity and starting testosterone therapy, a side effect of which meant that his voice kept changing throughout the recording process.
March 26 – Cardiff, Wales Goes Pop w/ Los Campesinos
April 9 – Leicester, The Firebug
April 24 – Glasgow, Stereo
May 28 – Liverpool Sound City
June 22 – Dundee, Conroy’s Basement
June 23 – Aberdeen, The Lemon Tree
June 24 – Edinburgh, Summerhall
June 25 – Glasgow, Stereo
June 26 – York, The Fulford Arms
June 27 – Liverpool, Studio 2
June 28 – Leicester, The Musician
June 29 – Manchester, Soup Kitchen
June 30- Leeds, Headrow House
July 1 – Bristol, Start the Bus
July 2 – London, MOTH Club
July 3 – Brighton, Hope and Ruin
July 4 – Birmingham, Hare and Hounds