London five-piece S.C.U.M., soon-to-be NME Radar Tour stars, get rather pissed off when they get compared to The Horrors.
It was only their lyrical obsession with the darker things in life, their Hoxton postcode, the fact that one of them is the brother of The Horrors’ bassist Rhys Webb, the fact that Rhys used to be in the band, and their penchant for playing gigs in venues like Shoreditch Church that induced us to use the headline ‘Little Horrors’ for their feature in NME magazine a few weeks ago. And nothing to do with the fact that their singer is stepping out with Faris Badwan’s ex, by the way.
Still, the angle of that article, very much valid considering their birth from both The Horrors’ scene pool and gene pool, gave them the platform to suggest that they are on course to step out of their older brother band’s wiry shadows. It was an opportunity they took – insisting, for example, that they recorded their September-bound debut album without hearing a note of The Horrors’ newie ‘Skying’.
The thing is though, we’ve got hold of S.C.U.M.’s album and, gleefully, it sounds nothing like ‘Skying’ – as soon as it’s released should make a comparison to their supposed big brother band as valid as comparing Matt Cardle to, say, Biffy Clyro. In fact the only thing it’s got in common with ‘Skying’ is that it’s been played on the NME office stereo this year more times than Ronnie Vannuci Jr’s ‘Big Talk’ album (that’s not a withering joke – that means it’s been played a lot).
Drenched in ’80s synths and with singer Tom Cohen channeling Brian Molko at his sneeriest, it’s an opinion-divider for sure – but one that in opener ‘Faith Unfolds’ and closer ‘Whitechapel’ is bookended by two of the biggest pop tunes of the year. Tunes that, in my humble view, make them front-runners to steal the show on the Radar Tour later this year from under Wolf Gang’s snout.
Whether they do or not, there’s little doubt that as soon as the album’s out we’ll have to start coming up with some fresh headline angles for them. If Gillette could offer then a deal so we can start the ‘Shaving S.C.U.M.’ ball rolling, that would really help.