Three years of touring and maturing followed the 2008 release of S.C.U.M’s debut single, ‘Visions Arise’, and while a fan base had been amassed and digital tracks were downloaded, that solitary single has remained the band’s only physical release until now.
As such, Again Into Eyes affords S.C.U.M the chance to prove once and for all that they’re composed of more substance than style – and it’s an opportunity that they grasp with both hands for the most part.
The perpetually swirling hooks of epic opener ‘Faith Unfolds’ immediately confirm the band’s coming of age, while fellow album bookend ‘Whitechapel’ builds an atmosphere which catapults the baritone voice of Thomas Cohen to the fore.
But it is during the album’s middle section that S.C.U.M truly distinguish themselves. Single and standout track ‘Amber Hands’ is threatening, dreamy and catchy all at once, while ‘Requiem’ is nothing if not beautiful. ‘Sentinal Bloom’ has the most nostalgic sound on the album; a sound that will draw more comparisons with the likes of the Jesus and Mary Chain and the Psychedelic Furs, and less with contemporaries the Horrors – no bad thing.
Low points do exist, however. ‘Cast Into Seasons’ struggles to get off the ground, while ‘Water’ is a rather self-indulgent sub-sixty second pool of noise. There are one or two other occasions during which the band’s labelling as ‘pretentious’ by the media almost seems founded – but thankfully, the bulk of the music doesn’t allow this thought to develop.
S.C.U.M can be quietly proud of their debut, which at once manages to prove the band’s detractors wrong and serve as an indication that this particular brand of British post-punk is here to stay.