INTERVIEW: Specky Cult | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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If there’s one thing British bands do particularly well, it’s using humour to make a point. From the slap-dash cartoon-esque Supergrass, through to the laconic style of Pulp, a key ingredient in the potency of British pop music has often been its ability to make fun of itself.   

Picking up on that theme, the new album by local heroes Specky Cult (a trio made up of Rob Glover, Carol Stephen and Rob Bradford) seeks to prove that laughter, rather than anger, is often the best method of making a point.   

More than anything, this album is about us all trying to have fun,” comments Rob Glover, “it’s always important in music to have something to say, but you don’t always need what you say to be the most important thing.” 

Sprinkled with lovely 90s Britpop references, particularly the good-time pop of The Boo Radleys and the witty lyrical references of Pulp, A Different Kind of Difficult is a creation of upbeat pop songs built around strong melodies purposefully disguising serious messages. 

we want the music to show that you don’t have to be angry to make a serious point

Standout tracks Big Shop and Awesome exemplify a unique songwriting approach that sparkles with shiny guitars and hidden humour. “Big Shop was exactly the style of song we wanted to make,” continues Glover. “We’re getting on a bit now and we’ve been laughing about how we’ve gone from mad nights out on the weekend to doing big shops on a Friday night. It’s a bit daft and fun and light, but it’s also a comment on where we are in life and how other people are also at that phase of their life.”

Yet for all of their bright and shiny pop colours, Glover admits that there’s a serious side to the album; the glorious Anthems And Tantrums, with its Boo Radley’s style of sunny pop, and wistful lines about music (“all I want is another great song on the radio”) being a perfect illustration that the band’s original acoustic, punky undertones remain not too far from the surface. 

The most important thing for us now is to have fun and to enjoy making music. If we can do that then we’re happy,” says Glover. “But whereas once we were quite staunch in our approach to music and very fierce in what we sang about, now we want the music to show that you don’t have to be angry to make a serious point – and in fact, the more you see people having fun and smiling and enjoying themselves, the more you’re likely to pay attention and be interested.” 

An album launch party will kick off the next phase of Specky Cult’s life, and the album will be ready to drop on 1st March (“there really is nothing like a date in the diary to focus your attention and to start making final decisions on presentation and edits!”) And for the band, it’s all about having fun and trying to be present in the moment – “we used to try to be serious about being serious. Now we’re more serious about trying to make others have a good time. Sometimes that’s more than enough.” 

Specky Cult release A Different Kind of Difficult on 1st March.


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