Could It Be Different? is the third album from Edinburgh indie-pop four-piece The Spook School. On the scene since 2011, the band have always been known for making music that speaks openly about life, and the cavalcade of issues surrounding sexuality, mental illness, gender and relationships that come with it. Their latest album is no exception. With a blend of catchy, honest lyrics, and upbeat riffs you could easily catch yourself jumping around your bedroom to, the band maintain their characteristic sound, forming a listening experience that can only be attributed to them.
Aside from its individuality, one of the best things about this album is that there is something for everyone. The memorable lyrics aren’t just refreshingly blunt – they are also profoundly relatable. In eleven tracks, the band manage to encompass the tumultuous fusion of joy, hope and despondence that is often part and parcel of being a young adult. From upbeat pop songs about body confidence, “teenage hopes” and fancying someone at a party, to melancholic tunes about high school memories and losing touch with loved ones, and feistier, angrier tracks about saying “Fuck you, I’m still alive” to the haters, it is impossible to not find something you can relate to.
It is also impossible to ignore the more politically-infused undertones of this album. The lyrics acknowledge that, whilst things in our culture may be moving forward, there is still a long way to go before marginalised groups are afforded equality and respect. Bands and artists that listen to and amplify the voices of queer and trans people are still greatly needed in the music industry. Therefore, the inclusive and powerful lyricism of The Spook School, a self-proclaimed ‘queer’ band led by transgender singer/guitarist Nye Todd remains immensely important.
At the end of the day, although the album admits that times are tough, it also encourages us to be true to ourselves. As proclaimed on the track ‘Body’, “I still hate my body / But I’m learning to love what it can do.” Like much of the band’s previous work, this album is heart-warming, candid, and thoroughly enjoyable. If you are in need of a generous injection of empowering, hopeful optimism in your life, this is the album for you.
[Katie Fannin – @katfnan]