S.C.U.M play the Bishopsgate Institute
It’s the dawn of a new awakening; S.C.U.M have evolved. Last year’s hidden gem will become this year’s jewel in the new music crown as they tear the world asunder.
In bringing their monolithic debut ‘Again Into Eyes’ – out May 7th on iTunes – to the forefront of the collective consciousness, the band will leave no stone unturned. The game-changing debut is the lifeblood of their sonic manifesto and a record of the very highest darkwave calibre, penned by five friends with their eyes fixed firmly on the prize.
Produced by Ken and Jolyon Thomas (Sigur Ros, M83, David Bowie), it’s born from the kind of delicious theatricality which impels a top-drawer show, rattling with reverb and smouldering with synths. It’s a cult classic in-the-making.
Thomas Cohen’s singular battle cry sounds the starting pistol on the gargantuan ‘Faith Unfolds’ – and first single ‘Amber Hands’ – out April 30th – is its brooding, oscillating arch nemesis. Then there’s ‘Requiem’ – the black sheep (figuratively speaking), written in the countryside, not the city.
But S.C.U.M have saved the best ‘til last with choice cut ‘Whitechapel’; a future-disco juggernaut washed in otherworldy Mellotron. It’s perhaps the biggest surprise on the record and also the band’s collective favourite. “It’s the end of the journey on all levels – it’s about letting go,” explains Keyboard player and Guitarist Samuel Kilcoyne. “The keyboard sounds deliberately like a waterfall and when we tried it, it was the longest song we had on the album and the most joyous.”
How did it all begin?
When Thomas Cohen (vocals) met Bradley Baker (synthesisers) on a local bus back in 2008, they laid bare plans to form a band and got to work straight away, taking their name from Valerie Solanas’ bile-scorched feminist manifesto of 1967 – Society For Cutting Up Men.
Fate dealt a hand in bringing Samuel Kilcoyne into the S.C.U.M fold. Sandwiched between his Dad and David Gest, he stumbled across the pair performing at a “surreal” Shoreditch gallery opening and volunteered his services, at first on guitar and then on the Moog. Mellissa Rigby (drums) and Huw Webb (bass) were invited along for the ride, and so began their quest for musical enlightenment.
Since then, they’ve toured with The Kills, performed all over Europe and the UK and experienced the ultimate dream-come-true last year; sharing a stage and dressing room with their musical heroes – Swans –at ATP’s I’ll Be Your Mirror. Playing second fiddle to the earth-shaking tour de force that is Grinderman, PJ Harvey, Portishead and Beach House, among others, was a pretty sure-fire way of whipping the band into shape. “We were so honoured be first on that stage and to be included in the bill was something else,” gushes Sam.
However modern their sound might be, S.C.U.M are very much a ‘band’, in the traditional sense of the word; five members on an equal footing but with carefully defined roles as individuals. “Our music has to come from absolutely everyone,” asserts Sam. “It has to be a collective whereby every single person is doing their own, invaluable thing. It’s not about egos; we’re all friends and we love being where we are.”
From Webb’s skeleton bass, Baker and Kilcoyne’s soundscapes and synth lines to Rigby’s percussive reigning in, Cohen’s histrionic, art-house stage presence certainly makes S.C.U.M stand out from the crowd. 90s children with their hearts clearly in the 80s, theirs is a pop trip neatly balancing the innovative with the rapturously danceable, the utilitarian with the excessive and the down-to-earth with the downright theatrical.
Plus support from SUNLESS 97