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If a debut LP is an artist's introduction to the world and their sophomore release is their now-or-never moment, their third is their most cathartic: they've made it out, they're here. Glasgow, Scotland's indiepop optimists The Spook School, despite personal and political obstacle, made it out, and their latest full-length Could It Be Different? is here. It's been a journey of self-discovery and feel-good realism; modern, dance-friendly indiepop fueling the fun. They made a name for themselves for their exultant and empowering pop, and now, they've shown real growth in nuance. Even at their most beaten down, The Spook School manage to find hope free of naivety. That's clear the second the album opens with Still Alive, and its ascending chorus (and soon-to- be crowd favourite) of Fuck You, I'm Still Alive, written by Nye after surviving an emotionally abusive relationship. The song avoids villainizing the past, instead, it celebrates the present and welcomes the unknown future. The energy of working through the wicked exists all over Could It Be Different?, Bad Year makes personal connections with universal ennui, the debilitating feeling of an atrocious political climate and the desire to do better. Could It Be Different? is a human release-a record full of the insecurities and anxiety that arrive after self-awareness, in learning something new and potentially frightening about yourself. But at it's heart is joy-there's no desolation on the LP, because The Spook School manage to find light in moments of darkness. All things glum must pass-even if hope comes only in the form of acceptance.
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