School, The - Loveless Unbeliever

(ELE1151: 8428846211510)

After the singles “Let It Slip” and “All I Wanna Do”, the moment arrived for their presentation to society.  After appearing on Rough Trade’s best of the year compilation, after having been hired by Slumberland Records (THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART, BRILLIANT COLORS, THE AISLERS SET…) to share a single with GEORGE WASHINGTON BROWN, having recorded various BBC sessions, having had their music included in advertisements, TV series and movies in different countries, and having received innumerable elegies of all kinds all over the globe, the moment definitely arrived for this Cardiff band. It has been a long process, with huge expectations, encouraged by songs like the ones included in the previously commented releases.  And for once it’s better than ever to use the cliché “it was worth the wait”. “Loveless Unbeliever” is that album that fans of bands like CAMERA OBSCURA, THE PIPETTES and BELLE & SEBASTIAN have waited so impatiently for.  An album with the same sense of melody as THE RONETTES (those references in “Is He Really Coming Home?” and “The One Who Left Me”), the ability to acquire the youthful irreverence that the marvelous Grease soundtrack boasted, the imaginative arrangements of greats like Phil Spector or Jack Nitzsche, all updated with an impressive vision.

The thing is, is that Liz and company have made one of those albums where all of the songs are definite hits, where listening is agile and so ephemeral (and not because it’s short; the disc is close to 40 minutes long), and the euphoria it creates is so great that we are totally incapable of taking the CD out of the stereo, so that we can keep listening to its intoxicating essence. With the cherry on top that Ian Catt (SAINT ETIENNE, TREMBLING BLUE STARS, THE FIELD MICE, SHAMPOO, THE BOO RADLEYS, Kahimi Karie) has always given them, they were able to assimilate the whole pop tradition and reproduce it with their own personality, mastery and inspiration.  

“Loveless Unbeliever” seems to be the story of a love that fades away: we would almost confirm that conceptually, it moves through unease, melancholy, the disappointment of that impossible love, but at the same time it knows that it will mark us for life; it’s a compilation of those moments that, behind the sadness, hide a tremendous beauty, because those are the moments that give us the true feeling of being alive. And that lust for life, the energy that pushes each and every of those instants is the vitality that THE SCHOOL’s songs openly show us, with their hummable choruses, their doo-doo-wops and their catchy arrangements.  
This is definitively a disc that confirms them as the latest example to follow in the pop music scene that matters, direct heirs of the girl-groups from the sixties (THE SHIRELLES, THE MARVELETTES, THE SUPREMES...) and the ambassadors of the best melodies and most unforgettable choruses, with that elegance so suited to the best Scottish pop. Huge, starting right now.

1. Let it slip
2. Is he really coming home?
3. Valentine
4. I want you back
5. Is it true?
6. I love everything
7. Can't understand
8. The one who left me
9. Hoping and praying
10. Summer's here
11. Shoulder
12. All I wanna do
13. I don't believe in love

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