On the face of it, London’s S.C.U.M have all the elements to be a successful proposition. That provocative name, good looks, a retro-futurist synth sound and an arresting frontman. ‘Again Into Eyes’ is a pretty good debut too, which follows on from a steady stream of singles and publicity that stretches back for a few years now.
‘Faith Unfolds’ is an epic opener but – bearing in mind bassist Huw Webb is the brother of Rhys Webb from The Horrors – it does rather sound like The Horrors recast as a synth outfit. Meanwhile, final track ‘Whitechapel’ may attract the masses to its shimmering wonder but it’s ultimately a superficial affair.
Better moments are scattered throughout the first half of the record. For example, ‘Cast Into Seasons’ is propelled by tribal drums, and ‘Sentinal Bloom’ builds in to a hypnotic coda. In a rare expression of vulnerability though, the group impress the most for ‘Paris’; it’s a piano-led affair but Thomas Cohen’s fragile tones make it a thoroughly captivating and spine-tingling experience.
The keyboard sounds are always epic and extravagant and the rhythms are reliably metronomic but emotionally S.C.U.M are a hollow shell, in much the same way as the admittedly good but ultimately highly derivative Mirrors. A little less polish and a lot more heart would be the best way forward for the group next time around.
S.C.U.M Official Site
Mirrors, The Horrors, White Lies