Perhaps the result of the success of The Kooks and The Fratellis has been this summer’s curious spate of lighthearted indie pop singles, with the likes of The Hoosiers, Rooney and The Pigeon Detectives breaking through. And Londoners Scouting For Girls, who made the Top 10 with She’s So Lovely, their ode to 30-year-old “fitties”. But have they got what it takes to avoid just being another one-hit wonder?
If you liked She’s So Lovely, you’ll probably like this album. The tempo doesn’t change much throughout the 11 songs, making it rather difficult to distinguish between them. There’s not much variety here, but they’ve got their formula: jaunty, easy-on-the-ear pop. And they’re sticking to it.
Keep On Walking kicks things off nicely. Sounding a little like early Athlete, it’s perhaps the most grown-up and musically adventurous song on here. But as we move on to She’s So Lovely, the scene is set for the rest of the album, as chief scout and lead singer Roy Stride takes us through song after song detailing his unfortunate love life. Girls who already have boyfriends, girls who’ve left him, girls who’ve broken his heart… you get the picture. Other highlights include debut single It’s Not About You with its touches of Del Amitri and The Mountains of Navajo complete with He-Man and She-Ra references.
Apparently the lads met at cub scouts and primary school, and their lyrics suggest they haven’t really grown up that much since. Endless tales of being unlucky in love are only broken up by a song about James Bond, and their shameless reworking of Hard-Fi‘s Living For The Weekend in I Need A Holiday. But lines like “How I hate this job, ‘cos the days do drag/ They work me like a dog and the money’s bad” make even Richard Archer seem like a lyrical genius.
It’s a very consistent album, and there are people out there who are going to absolutely love it. Unchallenging and fun, this is the aural equivalent of a Brat Pack film or Friday night programming on Channel 4 – ultimately pointless, but you can’t help but like it. You root for the unfortunate hero and his emotionally stunted ways, however dippy it seems – it ends with secret track Secret Song About Michaela Strachan, detailing Stride’s ill-fated teenage crush on “The Strachan”.
Success beckons, for there is potential for more singles. And while musically it merits three stars, it gets an extra half for just being so damn likeable.