From the title, you’d think that Why Do My Friends Have To Live Around Here would be an extremely self-deprecating snark fest. However, Scouts have come up with a much better idea, and instead, WDMYFTLAH is a gloriously life-affirming punk rock singalong with plenty of heart and mind.
Alright, it’s a tiny bit self-deprecating. ‘Please Don’t Take Me Back To North Shore’ is a little bit snarky, but it’s layered in punchy rhythms, strong and commanding vocals from Bobby Pook and Paul Barrow and puts them in the same kind of league as Latterman or Small Brown Bike with the kind of melody they’re just throwing at you. Although even with comparisons to said American stalwarts, it’s definitely a localised EP – if you’re from the North West, you might just recognise a few scenes. Scouts are decent storytellers and it’s easy to get swept away in the picture they’re painting – but with guitars and really gruff vocals, not actual paint, yeah? ‘Every Day In A New Way’ covers the bleakness of a town that’s just not getting any better, and it makes you want to shout along with it, no matter where you’re from. ‘Superstoker’ is reminiscent of Polar Bear Club’s first (and best) album, but with a keener, more British edge – and better drums. ‘Kensington Streets’ is a slow burner, but it’s infectious and even though the EP ends on a slightly melancholy note, the atmosphere built up in the final few minute is not only testament to the band’s fantastic talent, but to their ability to leave you feeling completely uplifted despite the tone of the track.
Although far more serious than Pook’s usual band, Me Vs Hero, the new Scouts EP is far deeper and far more involving, and therein lies the greater reward. If you like your punk rock to be smart, involving and inventive, then Scouts might just become your new favourite band.
4.5 out of 5 high fives!