The Spook School were a British four-piece indie pop band from Edinburgh, Scotland.[3] The name is a reference to the Glasgow School.[2]

The Spook School
The Spook School in 2017
Background information
OriginEdinburgh, Scotland
Years active2011 (2011)–2019 (2019)
  • Nye Todd
  • Adam Todd

  • AC Cory[1]
  • Niall McCamley[2]

The band's lyrics explore "gender, sexuality and queer issues"[3] with themes such as "fluidity and the lack of a binary in gender".[2]

Their music is often compared to bands on the C86 compilation, such as The Shop Assistants, as well as The Buzzcocks;[3][4][5] the band also lists David Bowie as an influence.[2]

History edit

They met and formed in 2011 whilst attending the University of Edinburgh.[2] Brothers Nye and Adam Todd met AC Cory[1] and Niall McCamley through the university's comedy society.[6] Most of the band have previously been involved in live comedy shows, some of which were performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.[2] The band first rehearsed in the basement of the Forest Café and would get told off for being too noisy by poetry nights trying to perform upstairs. Their first show was at Henry's Cellar Bar in Edinburgh.[7]

After a self released CD-R single, "History" / "Hallam", they released an EP (recorded in Adam Todd's bedroom) on cassette with Scottish label Soft Power Records 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.[8]

Fortuna Pop! label owner Sean Price signed the band after seeing them play at Indietracks Festival in 2012.[7] They released music on the label until its dissolution in 2017, shortly after which they signed to Alcopop! Records.[9]

They released their first album, Dress Up, in 2013. In 2014 they played N.Y.C. Popfest. That same year, the band were invited to do the music for the second season of the BBC Three show Badults.[8]

Try to Be Hopeful was issued in October 2015, again by the Fortuna Pop! label, as well as Slumberland Records in the U.S. 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.[8]

After the 2017 holiday single "Someone to Spend Christmas With" on their new UK label, Alcopop! Records, in early 2018 the Spook School released with third album, Could It Be Different?.[8]

The band announced that they were breaking up in March 2019, and went on a farewell tour later in the year. In a statement, they said "we just can't devote ourselves to the band the way we want to anymore" and that they would "rather go out with a fanfare" than "slip away". Their last show was at The Art School in Glasgow.[10][7]

On 22 May 2023 The Spook School announced two live performances would happen, one in Glasgow on 8 December and one in London on 16 December, to mark the 10 year anniversary of the release of their debut album.[11]

Critical reception edit

Their debut album, released in 2013,[4] is entitled Dress Up because it "relates to the idea of gender being a social construction, something that can be artificially appropriated".[3] The record received positive reviews from Loud and Quiet,[5] Under the Radar,[12] and The Skinny.[13]

Their second album, Try To Be Hopeful, released in 2015, has also received favourable coverage from music journalists.[14][15][16] Often with emphasis that their world-view encompasses the fluidity of both gender and sexuality and that this gives their output "urgency and cheering freshness".[16]

The band's third album, Could It Be Different? was released January 2018 - just before embarking on a US tour supporting New York state pop-punk duo Diet Cig.[17] It has been described as a "defining statement",[17] and a "a life-affirming return"[18] which finds them "on the cusp of greatness".[17] Clash called it arguably "one of the most important albums of 2018".[19] It was long-listed for that years Scottish Album of the Year Award.[20]

Discography edit

Albums edit

Extended plays edit

  • I Don't Know, You Don't Know, We All Don't Know The Spook School - Soft Power Records, Cassette EP, MP3 (2012)[3]

Singles edit

Split releases edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b "AC @ACdeecee". Twitter. Retrieved 13 December 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Pollock, David (18 October 2013). "Haunting melodies from students at Spook School". The Scotsman. Johnston Press. Retrieved 19 August 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Lester, Paul (4 September 2013). "New band of the week The Spook School (No 1,589)". The Guardian (Guardian Media Group). Retrieved 19 August 2014.
  4. ^ a b c Morrison, Alan (8 October 2013). "The Spook School: Dress Up (Fortuna POP!)". The Herald (Glasgow). Newsquest. Retrieved 19 August 2014.
  5. ^ a b c Scott, Hayley. "Dress Up by The Spook School". Loud and Quiet. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 19 August 2014.
  6. ^ Burrows, Marc (13 March 2016). "One to watch: The Spook School". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  7. ^ a b c The Spook School (28 November 2023). "Back From the Moon: The Spook School return". The Skinny. Retrieved 28 November 2023.
  8. ^ a b c d Sendra, Tim. "The Spook School Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  9. ^ a b "The Spook School Sign to Alcopop! for new album 'COULD IT BE DIFFERENT?', share 'STILL ALIVE' video". DIY. Sonic Media Group. 3 October 2017. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  10. ^ Blais-Billie, Braudie (5 March 2019). "The Spook School Are Breaking Up, Announce Farewell Tour". Pitchfork. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  11. ^ "The Spook School @spookschool". Twitter. Retrieved 15 June 2023.
  12. ^ Saunders, Chris. "Reviews - The Spook School, Dress Up". Under the Radar. Retrieved 19 August 2014.
  13. ^ Buckle, Chris. "Reviews - The Spook School - Dress Up". The Skinny. Retrieved 19 August 2014.
  14. ^ a b Brown, Paul. "The Spook School Try to be Hopeful". Drowned In Sound. Archived from the original on 16 October 2015. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  15. ^ Scott, Hayley (12 October 2015). "The Spook School - Try To Be Hopeful". Clash. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  16. ^ a b Didcock, Barry (11 October 2015). "The Spook School: Try To Be Hopeful (Fortuna POP!)". The Herald (Glasgow). Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  17. ^ a b c Turner-Heffer, Adam. "The Spook School – Could It Be Different?". The Skinny, Radge Media. Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  18. ^ Mair, Rob (23 January 2018). "The Spook School – Could It Be Different?". Dork. Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  19. ^ Beech, Dave (12 February 2018). "The Spook School - Could It Be Different?". Clash. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  20. ^ Snapes, Laura (1 August 2018). "Scottish Album of the Year: Mogwai and Young Fathers among nominees". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 February 2019.