The School – Reading Too Much Into Things Like Everything
As I write this Britain is busily hyping itself up into Olympic and Jubilee fever, with bunting and Union Jacks adorning the most unlikely of places. There’s a sense of the UK clinging onto whatever it is that makes Britain think it’s great, while all around the economic and political shenanigans point to a nation in crisis. Similarly with modern pop music’s current torch bearers One Direction being the best we can offer (or should that be Non Direction?), it’s no surprise that anyone with any nous is looking to the past to re-affirm our belief in all that’s great about pop.
Perhaps that’s what makes Reading Too Much Into Things Like Everything, the second LP from The School so appealing. The album comes across as a celebration of yesteryear’s classic pop, musically referencing everone from Brian Wilson circa Pet Sounds, Phil Spector, 60s Motown and Francoise Hardy, along with a solid grounding in the back-to-basics simplicity of C86. Much like all the best pop music its twelve songs deal with the eternal scenario of boy meets girl whereupon something goes wrong, or right, with main songwriter and vocalist Liz Hunt displaying a canny knack for writing tunes reminiscent of those lesser heard gems that crop up on Brian Matthew’s Sounds Of The Sixties radio show.
Take for example ‘It’s Not The Same’, a ringer for a great lost Claudine Longet track complete with a fittingly yearning violin solo. Or ‘The Grass Is Always Greener’ which calls to mind The Ronnettes with Spector at the helm. Two of the album’s finest moments are infused with head Beach Boy Brian Wilson’s playful way with harmony, the short album opener ‘What’s Just Begun’ and its close ‘You Make Me Hear Music (Inside My Head)’.
What stops it falling over into pastiche is a palpable sincerity and an infectious belief simple yet strong tunes. All good stuff. A shame then that the album clocks in at under half an hour. Even so there’s more ideas, tunes and fun in that half an hour than most bands achieve in their whole discography so let’s leave our cynicism aside and fly the flag for classic pop. After all it’s been around for nearly 60 years you know.