‘SMELLS LIKE TWEEN SPIRIT’
Released 24th July via Fierce Panda Records
1. ‘KEEP ME’; 2. ‘HEARTBEAT’; 3. ‘LIGHTNING’; 4. ‘LUCKY CHARM’; 5. ‘MEMORIES’; 6. ‘UNBELIEVABLE’
Pesky! are seven kids from Ulverton, Cumbria, a small market town on the edge of the Lake District. They consist of Megan Cooper (vocals), Niamh Angell (vocals), Patsy Gillam (bass), Kate Stamp (guitar / vocals), Joseph Jackson (guitar), Jessica Webster (keyboards) and Harry Angell (drums).
“Right now I feel like exploding!” they sing at the start of ‘Keep Me’, the lead-off single, over a lovely blizzard of shoegazing guitars, twinkling keys and sweet vocals. It’s a classic indie formula which runs riot through this six-track mini-album because, working on the heroically simple philosophy of writing pop songs with loud guitars, Pesky! have come up with a sound which mixes the youthful naivete of Kenickie with the harmonic lushness of, well, Lush.
Unsurprisingly ‘Smells Like Tween Spirit’ is their first ever release. We say ‘unsurprisingly’, because Pesky! are still at school. In fact, what is pretty hecking remarkable about this entire heavily charmed project is that most of Pesky! are 12 years old. And the ones who aren’t 12 – namely guitarists Kate and Joseph – are even younger, both being 11. Recognize their age – it’s a tweenage rampage.
Indeed, Pesky! are an off-shoot from Croftlands Junior School Guitar Club (itself not an entirely shoddy indie band name), which was an after-school club put together to teach guitar basics to children ranging from 7 to 11 years old. Eschewing the traditional school classics (cf ‘She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain’, ‘Lily The Pink’) the kids started learning classics by The Beatles and Beastie Boys. Although this caused the odd raised eyebrow at the school summer concert and sent some of the younger children home crying it definitely fuelled the kids’ enthusiasm for more of the same.
As their confidence and skills developed, it became apparent that something special was slowly but surely bubbling to the service. It began with singer Megan, who brought her first attempts at song-writing to the group where it transpired she had a real talent for squeezing a marvellous melody out of a couple of simple chords. Spurred on by this, both guitarist Kate and co-vocalist Niamh started writing and bringing songs to the table as well, and the seed of the band was starting to germinate.
There Pesky! cobbled together those pop tunes with loud guitars (the louder the better) and a keyboard, because they had one. Rehearsals were limited to one hour a week to fit in with homework, Scouts and dance club and consisted of writing songs and eating sweets…sometimes more of the latter than the former. Then they set up in a classroom and over a weekend recorded ‘Smells Like Tween Spirit’ on an iPad. Sounds simple, right? Right.
And that is why ‘Smells Like Tween Spirit’ is coming out on July 24th, the first Friday of the summer holidays, because schoooool’s out forever.