As far as shimmery, gleaming up-tempo ballads go, Scouting for Girls have the upper...
Gemma Padley 2007
If there is a band or artist for every occasion, Scouting for Girls (SFG) are the saccharine-fuelled teeny-bopper’s choice. Formed in 2005, the guitarless London trio make sun-kissed Sunday afternoon strolling music. While not exactly groundbreaking, their self-titled debut album tumbles and skips along happily enough; inoffensive, if not exactly life-affirming.
For happy-go-lucky couples it’s the perfect ‘relationship’ soundtrack; there are plenty of tracks here that would make ideal ‘our song’ choices. Take ‘The Airplane Song’; with its oh-so philosophical leanings and references to the airport – that eternal symbol of loss, love and patched-up break ups – it’s a definite ‘here’s a compilation I made to celebrate our love’ song.
There’s a lot here too for emotionally-fraught teenage girls. On "It’s Not About You" frontman Roy Stride sings: ‘Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad’ as he weighs up the deeper things in life with all the conviction of a wet tea towel. Beach Boys pastiche vocals creep in as heartbeat-skipping power chords loop round and round. It’s cringe-worthy to all but lovers of the most sugary pop.
SFG steer clear of any real heartbreak; references to anything remotely resembling pain are coated with bright pick-yourself-up melodies and upbeat riffs. "I’m Not Over You" is a classic example; the lines ‘She said it was over...I’m not over you and I know that I never will’ cue a bouncy piano-laden chorus to make it all better.
For the under-tens, "She’s So Lovely" has a nice, sweet melody and not a hint of anything lyrically controversial, perfect at a kids’ birthday parties where jumping up and down constitutes dancing.
This is music for an all-inclusive club. It’s no coincidence the band’s fanclub is called The Wolfclub (members are known as ‘wolfcubs’ and there’s even a secret code). Stride’s vocal is a combination of Joel Pott from Athlete and, as has been noted several times, Eels frontman Mr E (who, it must be said, did the whole emotional thing rather more convincingly.
But perhaps a little slack needs to be cut. While SFG’s life musings are not the stuff of music epics, their pop market appeal should not be so hastily dismissed; "Elvis Isn’t Dead", for one is a damn fine pop song. The album is not aimed at music connoisseurs but lovelorn adolescents. As far as shimmery, gleaming up-tempo ballads go, Scouting for Girls have the upper hand.