For years, all the fans of the best pop waited anxiously for that group that was going to occupy the space left between THE PIPETTES and BELLE & SEBASTIAN, heirs of the best pop from the sixties (THE SHIRELLES, THE RONETTES, THE SUPREMES...) and the best Scottish pop (CAMERA OBSCURA, BMX BANDITS...). But it’s finally here, “Loveless Unbeliever”, the debut album of THE SCHOOL.
In the UK and Europe they have already conquered critics and the public with singles like “Let It Slip” (check the video clip here) and “All I Wanna Do” (video here). In addition to creating uncommonly high expectations, The School have shown us that they’re the perfect spearhead of a sound that, even today, continues to thrill us. Under the guidance of producer Ian Catt (SAINT ETIENNE, TREMBLING BLUE STARS, THE FIELD MICE, SHAMPOO, THE BOO RADLEYS…), they demonstrate their incredible ability with melodies and arrangements, releasing an album with more gems than a jewelry store, like “Valentine”, “Is He Really Coming Home”, “I Want You Back” and “Hoping and Praying”, songs that are uncontestable candidates to remain perennially in our stereos.
The Guardian [uk] with The School's reluctant frontwoman An interview with Cardiff-born Liz Hunt
Cardiff-born Liz Hunt never planned to become the frontwoman of a local band gaining rapid global acclaim. But since she took over as lead singer of Cardiff-band The School, the eight-person group has gone from strength to strength, with their first album – Loveless Unbeliever – due out at the end of May and an international tour planned for later this year which will take them from the US to Japan.
Liz, 30, from Llanedeyrn, now lives in Roath with her boyfriend Ryan and their two cats – the couple first formed the band in 2007 as a two-man venture – but soon Liz realised the songs she wanted to make needed stronger vocal backing and a bigger sound – so she went about recruiting her Cardiff-based collective. With pageboy blonde locks and big owl eyes painted in a smoky black outline – it doesn't take long to realise where Liz's influences come from. Girl groups from the sixties clearly form the cornerstones of The School sound – sitting the band comfortably in the 'indie pop' genre.
Front cover of The School's new album Loveless Unbeliever Photograph: Alison Wonderland Loveless Unbeliever produced by Ian Catt on Elefant Recrods presents a sound which is self-effacing, yet rounded and infectiously catchy. The songs, written by Hunt, are melody focused and have a 'sad songs sung happy' feel. Hunt's sugary sweet vocals, cherry-topped with delicious backing harmonies make for a scrumptious musical delight – structured by the band's trendy vintage dress style. Listen if you like Camera Obscura, The Shangri-Las, Phil Spector, and 60s-flavoured tunes you'll like The School. Guardian music profiled them in the 'New Band' series last month. Listen to The School here and watch their latest video below.
About Liz Hunt Liz Hunt leader singer of The School Photograph: Alison Wonderland Hunt currently works as a promoter for 10 feet Tall – booking bands for the club and its sister venue, Buffalo, as well as moonlighting as an occassional DJ. She grew up on a diet of 80s pop bands and after studying music at school worked as a private piano teacher for eight years but gave up to commit to the band – but she never envisaged become such a prominent figure in the spotlight. As we talk about the success of the band Hunt constantly flicks her dark lashes towards the floor and blushes girlishly. This endearing shyness explains her previous posts as background singer when with former girl band The Loves.
"I was always the accompaniment. I wanted to be backing vocals in The School but there was noone else to do it – it's hard to find girls who are into indie pop in Cardiff – but now I've got a vocals coach.
"I'm still really shy on stage, but I try and be confident and I'm coming out of my shell a little bit more. My mum would always be telling me to look up more."
Snapped up quickly by independent music label Elefant, The School take centre stage in a relatively open market for indie pop bands in Cardiff. Recently, similar styled outfits have fizzled out – with Silver Gospel Runners and Little My breaking up. Hunt says they were shocked at the turnout for their album launch gig in March and similarly taken aback by fans in Europe wanting them to sign autographs when on tour.
"We didn't get a load of support in Cardiff to start with – we're not the sort of music that does well here – there's more appetite for the experimental rock scene – but there aren't very many bands like us now. Cardiff is a great place to play and I'm glad The Globe is opening again.
"I was pretty devastated when I heard about 6music closing because it really helped us and gave us support – our first single was played on their Breakfast show. A lot of Welsh bands get support on the station so it worries me that it's going." Hunt is aware of her novelty factor as a female frontwoman – but her message isn't about feminism or equality in the music industry – it's about showing anyone can do it.
"Our band is just about having fun. I've been in smaller local bands who take themselves too seriously but we just play the music we want to play and people see we're about being light-hearted and having fun." The School is currently working on their second album and some Christmas songs for later this year – as well as planning the October/November tour outside of the UK (ash providing!).
Loveless Unbeliever comes out on 31 May and their new single Is He Really Coming Home? Will be out a week before. The School will next play in Buffalo on 6 June. See their website here, blog here, and Twitter feed here.
23rd May, 2010 : Posted by Admin