Uh oh. I am about to be accused of “lazy journalism” by the media’s playground Mafia, I’m sure. There’s no getting away from it though – The School sound like Saint Etienne at their commercial best, perhaps on occasion mixed with the eighties indie jangle of The Darling Buds.
A lot of this is down to Liz Hunt‘s vocal style, conveying an adorable innocence on one hand and a sassy astuteness on the other. The songs are short, snappy pop gems throughout too, so even if the Etienne references have been made a million times before (and I suspect they have, this being the band’s third album), really, what greater compliment is there than to be compared to one of the most consistently brilliant chart botherers of the last 25 years?
I would, however, be doing The School a great disservice by leading you to believe that they only choose to dwell in one hotel, and even if they did, they’ve certainly pilfered a plethora of different hand towels. ‘Love Is Anywhere You Find It‘, for instance, has that pounding ‘Lust For Life‘ beat and comes across like a classic Supremes number.
Phil Spector would be bouncing off his padded walls if he heard ‘Don’t Worry Baby (I Don’t Love You Anymore)‘ too, the sum of which amounts to all the girl bands of that era being chained together in one room. Mind you, he’s probably already done that…
If Lush had been commissioned, during their ‘Ladykillers‘ period, to write the music for a spaghetti Western, and roped in Hank Marvin on guitar, it might have sounded something like ‘All I Want From You Is Everything‘, whereas ‘My Heart’s Beating Overtime‘ is a Viva Voce like interlude into another immaculate slice of sixties summertime pop in the form of the title track.
‘Do I Love You?‘ is a quite blatant – and wonderful – response song to Frank Wilson‘s seminal Northern Soul floor-filler, and at this point I feel I need to venture no further. You will, by now, be well aware that this album is simply a joyous celebration of life and quite frankly, if you don’t embrace it wholeheartedly, then I pity your pathetic, tortured soul.