Album Review

Again Into Eyes

Again Into Eyes

by S.C.U.M


Mute
7.5 / 10
13th October, 2011

Reviewed by Courtney Sanders


On debut album SCUM channel their influences in a sometimes-unique way.

Go online and almost every piece about London band S.C.U.M compares them to UK counterparts The Horrors: they sound the same! They take themselves just as seriously in press photos! S.C.U.M copied The Horrrors! It’s an easy and often appropriate comparison to make. Both bands wear their gothic, post-punk influences from their London base on their proverbial sleeves while keeping their lyrical concerns close-to-chest and both bands eschewed their previous punk leanings for sprawling atmosphere come 2011 releases. Furthermore, bassist Huw Webb is the younger brother of The Horrors’ Rhys Webb, only perpetuating both the comparison and the older brother status of the latter.

There are, however, notable differences between the bands with the most immediate being the frontmen. While Faris Badwin's nuanced drawl often seems forced and purposeful, Thomas Cohen delivers the metaphorical comparisons between life and nature (‘Amber Hands’, ‘Cast into Seasons’) in an effortless, swaggering manner,  trumping Badwin’s earnestness and suggesting a potential for legitimate English Frontman status the likes of Edwyn Collins and Jarvis Cocker pioneered and akin to what American George Lewis Jnr. is doing for his synthesized pop ballads as Twin Shadow.

To that end, S.C.U.M also have the goods when it comes to writing an overarching pop track, albeit one best enjoyed after sunset. ‘Amber Hands’ for example is introduced by awkward, staccato drums establishing a point of interest that proceeds to devolve into soaring, stadium-like guitars and synthesizers for a chorus elevated further by Cohen’s vocal woven around such epic instrumentation, and is catchier than anything on Skying.

However The Horrors' latest effort has something, a pinache that elevates them from contemporaries like S.C.U.M: continuous and captivating atmosphere traverses the track-listing and questionable vocal delivery for a full album of lilting, gothic escapism. Skying is an album where the middle is so artfully constructed that beginning and end seem joint. Again Into Eyes lacks this and where in-betweeners like ‘Scarlet Fields’ and ‘New Ice Age’ on Skying eloquently compliment the singles on either side, S.C.U.M’s less radio-friendly interludes feel flat – ‘Sentinal Bloom’ for example. Cohen and co. seem to have poured so many ideas into their trump tracks they had little left for the rest, which while backhandedly complimenting the stand-outs on Again into Eyes suggests they haven’t yet developed the diversity of sound their co-conspirators have.

The Horrors released one of The albums of the year. Give S.C.U.M a bit of time and another full length and they have the ability to do the same – shedding comparison at the same time.






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