S.C.U.M piqued my interest when they emerged a few years back as a fashionita noise band along with The Horrors,a band i despise.To be honest i just liked the name at first which is from Valerie Solanos men hating "feminist" manifesto,which by the way is an unremmiting piece of garbage written by an ugly maniac.By rights i should hate this band on looks alone and the fact that singer Thomas Cohen is dating Peaches "i am goin to vomit"Geldof.Boy the other band members must be peeved as the press attention focuses in on yet another celebrity relationship.Loads of tabloid shots of the couple sat at the front of milan fashion shows,dawdling down Portobello Road in a fog of sandals,sarongs and sytrofoam cups full of mocchachinos,frapachinos...more likely iced tea.Also Thomas Cohen is a sickening poser,the pouting is out of control all leading to a rather pronounced punchability.But i gotta admit i loved this album.Self conscious,gloomy,big,annoying,portentous,fey....moody fringes and swaying.It has this early 80s quality of self importance which i dig like say Bauhaus or Japan.Plus stonking tunes such as single Amber Hands,Days Untrue and Whitechapel full of drama and ambition.This is a perfect album for the poetic 15 year old outcast who reads good books,a soundtrack to your romantic gloom.Equally its perfect for sad,32 year old,frustrated popstars like me who pathetically still read the n.m.e and think they are clever for spotting a bands reference point.A great british album and a great divisive,possibly annoying, band.At the end of the day i am jealous of these trendy singers....i want the sarong and styrofoam cup.
S.C.U.M. are a superbly intense and moody bunch of boys from Sarf East London whose debut album 'Again Into Eyes' is made of the kind of stuff to make your hair curl and teeth tremble in their sockets. This is a good thing! There is an arch seriousness in the project which embraces the darker shadows of the eighties but transforms them into something entirely relevant for these shaky uncertain times. I can imagine them dressed in basic black playing for all they are worth on a semi-lit stage in a subterranean cavern.
There is a sinister energy in their performances of these eleven splendid inventions which I found curiously appealing. In Thomas Cohen they have a wholly credible front man. Swathed in reverb, he snarls and growls his way through these small epics like your Mother's worst nightmare. The battenberg would almost certainly melt into a pale pink and yellow puddle in the centre of the dining room table if you brought him home to tea! Suburbia beware!!
Wayward reflections aside, the songs really are very well constructed. Moody, unhinged and occasionally (witness the perfectly wonderful 'Paris') strangely affecting, these young gentlemen are mapping out a territory all their own. There are shades of Brett Anderson evident in Mr Cohen's voice which I found particularly enjoyable. The opening track 'Faith Unfolds' is a song which Suede would have been proud to own. The Psychedelic Furs, on their best form, also came to mind from time to time in compositions like 'Amber Hands' and the delicious 'Whitechapel'. The sepulchral thrash of 'Summon The Sound' and luminous 'Sentinel Bloom', however, tips a hat to the gloomy interiority of Joy Division and lives to see another day. 'Requiem' and the small but perfectly-formed 'Water' are, in their own distinctive way, the icing on another kind of cake! For my money the desolate soundscape of 'Cast Into Seasons' is the best of the bunch. It grabbed me like a cougar by the throat and wouldn't let go!
One can only begin to imagine where the band will go from here. I am more than persuaded by their talents and await developments with bated breath.
If you are into synth laden,moody indie that is catchy and mysterious,you are likely to enjoy this.Caught the band at Exeter Phoenix a couple of weeks ago on the first leg of their NME tour,on the reccommendation of my teenage son.Very enjoyable gig,clearly a band who have a strong musical direction,the performance was charismatic and powerful and compentently played-the songs interesting and memorable.Naturally I have borrowed my sons copy of the album,which sounds remarkedly like the live performance,it has become compulsive listening.Influences? sounds both live and recorded are reminiscent of Nick cave,Suede through to Eno.Talked to the band afterwards-really nice bunch of guys (and girl)asked them about their influences,and they seemed non-plussed,only mentioning Echo and the Bunnymen.Will stick my neck out and say it's one of the best indie type albums of the year.Great stuff.