“Still Alive” by The Spook School

The Spook School are Nye Todd (guitar/vocals), Anna Cory (bass/vocals), Adam Todd (guitar/vocals) and Niall McCamley (drums). Since forming in 2012, they’ve released two records, 2013’s Dress Up, a gender-binary eradicating release—noisy, cheery pop critical of social construction and its limitations, and 2015’s Try to Be Hopeful, a celebration of queer and trans identities from a place of newfound self-assurance. The band, whose name originates from the Glasgow School, have lived a lot of life since then: Could It Be Different? was written from space that follows aplomb. “You’re comfortable with yourself, as much as you ever can be but you have to live with that person anyway,” Nye says of the record, “There are more questions than answers. That’s why the title works well—it has that insecurity to it.” Adam agrees, “It also comes from a place of feeling like everything definitely isn’t alright now,” pausing. “Maybe things could change?”

The energy of working through the wicked exists all over Could It Be Different? “Bad Year” makes personal connections with universal ennui, the debilitating feeling of an atrocious political climate and the desire to do better.

“I wrote the lyrics the day after the Brexit vote in the U.K. I was feeling very despondent,” Nye explains. “There’s this pressure when something bad happens, to immediately be able to cope and know exactly what to do. Sometimes you need to take a moment for understanding before making a contribution.” In “Body,” the band struggles with image while coming to terms with the criticality of self-love. For Nye, it’s a present journey after learning to embrace his trans identity. “Less Than Perfect” and closer “High School” recall youthful insecurity and the road to becoming comfortable with who you are—self-consciousness isn’t something we all grow out of, but it’s something we all can relate to—adolescence can be traumatizing, but learning to love yourself is invaluable.

Could It Be Different? is a human release—a record full of the insecurities and anxiety that arrive after self-awareness, in learning something new and potentially frightening about yourself. But at it’s heart is joy—there’s no desolation on the LP, because The Spook School manage to find light in moments of darkness. All things glum must pass—even if hope comes only in the form of acceptance.

“We try to take sad songs and not shy away from them, but come out thinking ‘things will change.’ Otherwise everything would be dreadful and I feel bad enough as it is,” Niall laughs. “We need a bit of light in our lives.” Adam agrees, “We started this for fun. We want our shows to be fun. We want the people who come to our shows to feel welcomed, and to have fun. There’s a bit of party in our songs, no matter what the subject matter is.” Why cry when you can dance?

2018 US TOUR DATES

01/29 Buffalo, NY @ Mohawk Place # ^
01/30 Toronto, ON @ The Garrison # ^
01/31 Detroit, MI @ Marble Bar # ^
02/01 Chicago, IL @ Bottom Lounge # &
02/02 Madison, WI @ University of Wisconsin # &
02/03 Minneapolis, MN @ University of Minnesota # &
02/05 Lawrence, KS @ White Schoolhouse #
02/06 Omaha, NE @ Reverb Lounge & #
02/07 Denver, CO @ Lost Lake Lounge #
02/08 Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court #
02/09 Boise, ID @ Neurolux # &
02/10 Vancouver, BC @ The Cobalt # &
02/11 Seattle, WA @ Chop Suey #
02/12 Portland, OR @ Aladdin Theater #
02/14 San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop #
02/15 Santa Cruz, CA @ The Catalyst # &
02/16 Los Angeles, CA @ Lodge Room #
02/17 San Diego, CA @ You Are Going To Hate This Fest 3 #
02/19 Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress # &
02/21 Austin, TX @ Sidewinder # &
02/22 Dallas, TX @ Three Links # &
02/23 New Orleans, LA @ Hi Ho Lounge # &
02/24 Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade # &
02/25 Asheville, NC @ The Mothlight # &
02/26 Charlotte, NC @ Neighborhood Theatre # &
02/27 Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle # &
02/28 Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel # &
03/01 Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere # &
03/02 Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall # &
03/03 Philadelphia, PA @ First Unitarian Church # &

# = w/ Diet Cig
^ = w/ Lala Lala
& = w/ Great Grandpa