Record Overplayed
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Scouting For Girls | Newcastle Academy | 06/06/07

Scouts’ Honour

Gig Review by Dawn / Photos by Keira

One article in a respected daily newspaper recently dared to denounce Scouting For Girls’ music as "woefully weedy" and "vocally strained". I would accuse the man in question of being "stunningly miserable" and suggest that said broadsheet employ a reviewer with fully functional ears forthwith.

Surely only the hardest cynic could fail to smile having heard the simple yet impassioned piano pop which emanates from these three young men from South East England. For too long the charts have been overrun by the hollow words of pretentious pretty boys with comedy fringes pretending to be tortured souls; it’s about time we had some songs for the loved up among us to sing joyfully along to.

But before you point out that love songs, too, are old news, just take a listen to Scouting For Girls’ effervescent efforts. After all, as the Carling Academy crowd begin to realise, it’s not every day you hear love songs which use 1980s kids’ shows as reference points...

 

Frontman Roy Stride plays his piano as if it were a guitar – not that he thinks it has strings, but the amount of movement, effort and passion he injects into every song is simply irresistible. His cheeky charm and explanation of I Wish I Was James Bond (written about drummer Pete) soon win over the audience and draws them closer to the stage - just in time to witness the B-side to the boys' debut single, Mountains of Navaho, where Roy compares his romantic shortcomings to the likes of He Man and She-Ra. There can’t be many songs in existence with the line "I’m a fragile beast like Battlecat".

In Elvis Isn’t Dead Roy’s unfailing optimism means that, not only does he believe the King is still with us, he therefore believes that the girl in question is coming back to him. Admirable sentiments indeed, but it’s not all hearts and flowers; with its intriguing rhythm, Keep On Walking laments the fact that Roy waits up each night for the girl to return, bored and alone. If she doesn’t appreciate the She Ra lyrics, I doubt she’s worth waiting for anyway, mate...

 

However, the highlight of tonight’s show must surely be the wonderfully catchy She’s So Lovely, preceded by Roy’s poignant ode to Michaela Strachan who (resplendent in cagoule and wellies) apparently broke his heart when he was twelve. Bless. By the time we’ve reached the harmonies (with bassist Greg ably accompanying his bandmate on vocals) at the end of She’s So Lovely, the crowd are only too eager to join in the clapping at Roy’s insistence.

If the Scouts gave out badges for making life seem blissful, Roy, Pete and Greg’s uniforms would be the first to be adorned - the world is a much cheerier place when Scouting For Girls are around to assist.

 

With thanks to the lovely Roy. Visit www.myspace.com/ScoutingForGirls for more information. Thanks also to Keira for the photos - visit www.KeiraVallejo.com for more.

 

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