A bold debut from a young London outfit full of promise.
Ian Wade 2011
S.C.U.M. – or to give them their full originally-invented-by-would-be-Warhol-assassin Valerie-Solanas name, Society For Cutting Up Men: essentially a cheery manifesto about how all men are a bit rubbish, basically – hark back to the clattering industrial sounds of yore, managing to evade the ham-fisted attempts of lesser acts who’ve looked to the era for inspiration.
There is something over-archingly immense about how the band have transformed from the embryonic state of ‘all talk and no trousers’, and are now bursting into a thrilling declaration of ‘actually, there’s more than just trousers, there’s hats too’. After initially arriving in 2008 as an act born from the Underage (festival, club nights etc) scene, and featuring a brother of a Horror and the son of an Add N to (X), they seemed a bit like a psychedelically incestuous art-rock EastEnders.
Comparisons with The Horrors are rife, mainly because of the connections and a similar outlook and sound. But then, we all thought we had the measure of Faris and company once, and now they’ve turned into the best band in Britain. And, really, there’s no reason why S.C.U.M. shouldn’t follow them.
Amazingly haired soundscapery and ominous and intriguing racket is S.C.U.M.’s stock in trade. Opener Faith Unfolds bowls about optimistically for a while, before swooning into a motorik glide, while the synthy washes of Amber Hands suggests there was a roaring trade going on for early Simple Minds albums around Hoxton at the start of this year. Thomas Cohen’s voice fits perfectly, with a baritone full of foreboding and illicit promise. Requiem builds into a coalescent swarm of noise, while album closer Whitechapel moves gracefully with a touch of cosmic disco among its swathes of cello and mellotron, and then breaks into a slight canter.
With high-concept sounds and an ace sleeve, Again Into Eyes is a bold debut, and an extremely rewarding experience. Initial listens may paint it as a bit of a pretentious dirge, but dive into it and soon warmth and light flood in. There’s a sense that S.C.U.M. are only just beginning, and the promise here suggests you should mark them for future greatness.