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This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… S.C.U.M. – Again into Eyes… December 3, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....

I’m pretty crook right now hence no posts since Monday from myself and not sure when I’ll be back, many thanks to those who took up the slack during the week, but here’s one I baked earlier…wbs

So much to hate here… pretentiously flamboyant singer, excessive youth, flamboyant singer going out with a Geldof [Peaches seeing as you asked], excessive reverence of the 1980s, link to The Horrors, did I mention the flamboyant singer? Then to top it all there’s the far too knowing and referential name. Throw in the fact they’ve recently recorded a series of tracks entitled Warsaw, Berlin, Paris and…er… Athens and I think we know precisely what part of the musical map they’re coming from. And yet, and yet…

Despite all that, there’s something here I also really like here.

Formed about three years ago they transitioned from an slightly Joy Division/industrial inflected art rock outfit [for an example of which listen to the motorik influenced ‘Second Sea’ below] to something positioned much closer to a shoe-gaze styled take on Simple Minds or Psychedelic Furs style slightly skew wise big production pop from the mid 1980s. And if that sounds like a convergence with the Horrors, particularly on their almost peerless Skying album from earlier this year, well so it is. Irritating lead singer Thomas Cohen has a vocal style that is oddly similar to that of Violent Femmes front man Gordon Gano. Another member, Samuel Kilcoyne is the offspring of one of Add N to X – so he’d want to have good keyboards. One real strength is the rhythm section, bass and drums are excellent.

They still do art-rock stuff. Sub-torch song, sub-‘ballad’, ‘Paris’ [apparently based on Dada artists – spare us], is a particularly lamentable example, but it’s one misstep on an album with a a series of songs that revolve around familiar but somehow skillfully reworked chord progressions set in suitably chilly keyboard lines and washes.

They sensibly, or so we are told, eschew guitars while still managing to sneak treated guitar sounds into the mix [None more Echo and the Bunnymen single ‘Amber Hands’ opens to a barrage of them]. Actually that mention of the Bunnymen is telling. There are hints of post-punk shading into goth [‘Cast Into Seasons’ is a good example which has something of first album New Order about it] but one can only hope that they can avoid the glum cul-de-sac that that leads to, if that is they make it to the second album. One also hopes that Cohen can discard the appalling Bonoisms of their ‘Whitechapel’ video.

But when they get it right, as with ‘Summon the Sound’s’ rushing drums and propulsive baseline set against phased walls of sound it works just fine.

And so, while there’s a shallowness of sound and approach – there’s perhaps one song too many on the album that suggests that they love the sounds over the melody – particularly when set against the aforementioned Horrors album, then that seems oddly appropriate for a band who take the Furs in their most pop incarnation as a jumping off place. In that context isn’t shallow precisely the point?

Amber Hands

Faith Unfolds

Summon the Sound


Second Sea [from earlier in their career]

Berlin [from more recent sessions]


1. Mark P - December 3, 2011

So much to hate here. You really should have left it at that. Christ this lot are awful. It’s like listening to a Suede B-Sides compilation.


WorldbyStorm - December 3, 2011

Suede are a band I found fairly annoying. First album okay but very tepid. Saw hem live in the tivoli, one great song We are the Pigs on their second album and subsequently everything was pretty dire. I had their b sides album which i Bought cheap and second hand on cd for the cover of decommissioned RAF lightening fighter jets. Great imagery. Never listened to it though 🙂

Saw the Auteurs the same year in the tivoli. Now, despite some flaws, there was a band.


2. Chet Carter - December 3, 2011

OK, I am officially out of touch with the kids. I have never even heard of them and can’t even be bothered to click to hear what they sound like. From the description above it sounds like an act on X Factor having been told by Simon Cowell to be a bit edgy.


WorldbyStorm - December 4, 2011

Heh heh :). Yep theres something in that… Though they can play their own instruments. But again it’s that mid 80s pop production thing going on.


3. sonofstan - December 3, 2011

Sorry to hear you’re unwell – it’s a stressful enough time of the year, between Xmas and anti-Xmas (the budget) without being ill on top of it. Hope you’re better soon.


Mark P - December 3, 2011

Now I feel slightly guilty for giving out the band rather than wishing WbS a swift recovery. So get well soon! (But the band are still terrible).

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - December 3, 2011

Honesty is to your credit, this will be one of my only comments for a few days. I developed pneumonia this last two days ( thanks for the kind words som of stan and mark, dont know if either of you have had it but its a fucker) and it is highly likely that the flu which was its precursor during most the week may have warped my perception 😉


WorldbyStorm - December 3, 2011

And I was a bit proud of writing a review where I used the words irritating lamentable appalling and hate. I did forget callow and perhaps ‘just a bit crap’ but a piece of my 1980s furs and (much less so) minds loving self finds em entertaining for all that.

Dearth of good acts… It’s too loud and and I’m too old …mutter grumble … (shakes fist at everyone) …

… Carry on as you were (I know I’m not participating but some of the discussions this week have been fantastic and when I’m well agin might run with a few threads).


LeftAtTheCross - December 3, 2011

WBS, ouch, had that about 10 years ago, horrible. As I recall the anti-biotics were almost worse than the pneumonia, very hard on the stomach. Hope it clears up soon and that everyone is being nice to you at home 🙂

By way of making light of it, here something I thought was quite funny:


WorldbyStorm - December 3, 2011

Thanks a mill latc. There’s always something political in what we all do, or at least mostly, but because id been so ill,with flu the last four days I left it too late to see my own doc yesterday and had to go to d doc this morning on north strand. Obviously shoestring op but very professional and calming given the news they gave me (the doc said if I had left it a day or two later he’d have sen me straight to a and e for a hospital stay and I guess a lot rides on how the antibiotics work) but I was asking around there about how things were and needless to say cuts coming down line etc. but everyone there was ordinary north inner city folk of all ages who need the service.

Btw youre dead right it is horrible, only started antibiotics today, but feverishnesh, coughing up blood, lack of sleep, I wouldnt wish it on anyone.


Chet Carter - December 5, 2011



4. WorldbyStorm - December 3, 2011

Great clip by the way, my favourite line ….’Mary’s had two kids….’


5. smiffy - December 4, 2011

Get well soon!

Just to be contrary, I quite liked Suede’s second album. Also, here’s a rebuttal of the man-flu video:


WorldbyStorm - December 4, 2011

🙂 and thanks. Re Suede, I always thought the idea was better than the reality. I will admit Butler was a good guitarist, and his subsequent stuff, perhaps most obviously with McAltmont was good.


6. EamonnCork - December 4, 2011

You should post up the clip of McA and B doing Yes on Jools Holland. Anyone who hasn’t heard that is in for a treat, one of the greatest live TV performances of all time, and one of the finest songs.


WorldbyStorm - December 4, 2011



EamonnCork - December 4, 2011

It’s like the template for some great new form of pop which never actually happened. Hope the flu gets better, your real actual flu is some dose, in the words of my mother, when dealing with our teenage outbreaks of man flu, “if you had flu you’d know all about it.” And you do, you really do.


WorldbyStorm - December 4, 2011

I loved that album. And that song. And it was robbed on me so I haven’t heard it in full in years. Perhaps this dose of pneumonia is a good excuse to go get it again!

There’s the old joke about manflu/flu that if you see a 20 euro note on the ground outside if you can’t even get out of bed to get it you know you’ve got the latter. It’s spot on that.

And you’re right. You know when you’ve got something really serious.


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