Scouting for Girls
If you've heard Scouting for Girls' latest single, the impossibly chirpy She's So Lovely, then I'm sorry to inform you that there's more impossibly chirpy piano-poppers here waiting to take a decent bite out of Radio 1's playlist. For a station that prides itself on being on the 'cooler' side of the spectrum, it's a wonder this band made it out of the gate and on the air.
I want to like SFG. They're obviously big pop fans, drawing on Elton John's big piano hooks more so than anything else, often coming across like Supergrass-lite. They offer up bouncy pop songs that aim to be universal and anthemic, therefore refusing to be another balladeering Snow Patrol rip-off. However, there's a feeling here that they are nothing more than a Feeling support (some may say 'tribute') band. Indeed, not even their best moment - the incessant grower It's Not About You - can touch Never Be Lonely for pure guilty pleasure pop. When Dan Gillespie and co. make you sound a bit feeble, you have to question your creative output.
Maybe the problem here is the production, which sounds one-note and, sorry to say, cheap throughout. It means the songs never reach their full potential and that they all end up sounding pretty samey. The ingredients for these tracks don't tend to vary anyway, the piano in the foreground over guitars and drums while 'Chief Scout' Roy Stride sings, more often than not, about a girl over cod-Beach Boys harmonising. There are some catchy melodies here and there but nobody over the age of fifteen, except for perhaps housewives who wish they were still fifteen, will buy their brand of optimism, especially with rubbish sixth-form lyrics like 'She's a strawberry milkshake/She's as sweet as a peach but she's ice cold'.
An embarassing ode to BBC kiddy presenter Michaela Strachan aims for amusing as a tagged-on bonus track but just ends up emphasizing what a wasted opportunity this is. Maybe, in the interim between this and album number two, their ideas will grow and they'll have a bit more money to spend on their production. Until then, SFG are a prospect best kept for their adoring 'Wolf Cub' fan club. Better them than me.