S.C.U.M @ Academy, Manchester 08.10.11

The pressure of tonight, despite the small crowd size, would easily crush any other band. It’s particularly tense for S.C.U.M – and frontman Thomas Cohen in particular – where the tension of living up to your older brother’s shadow (The Horrors), must be nerve wrecking.

Oct 8th, 2011 at Academy, Manchester / By Alex Yau
S.C.U.M Despite the darkness of the venue, S.C.U.M manage to swathe the stage in a haze of colourful synths and shoegaze guitars – all complimented by the debonair Cohen’s Bowie meets gothic voice. ‘Amber Hands’ and ‘Faith Unfolds’ both have wonderfully similar pallets to the Horror’s Skying. Sonic pads atmospherically race through the air. ‘Days Untrue’ meanwhile is an electric wave of ghoulish noise. ‘Paris’ tones everything down with a subtle trickle of piano keys. Come ‘Whitechapel’ though – a glimmer of energy that sees Cohen finally dancing it up – we ask why such enthusiasm has been reserved for the end of the set?

If there were any excuse for that, it may be that it’s rubbed off on Wolf Gang (aka Max McElligot). There’s a captivating enthusiasm about them that would charm anyone, not just the crowd where some members come complete with power fist pumping. Plus there’s Lasse Petersen in the band (aka that one what drummed in the Rakes) which is always a plus. The main highlight tonight is ‘The King and All His Men,’ a riveting mix of glamour and Adam and the Ant like idiosyncracy. NME Tours are usually known for showcasing wonderful talent, and this year is no different.