On July 24th they startled the world with the digital release of their terrific ‘Smells Like Tween Spirit’ mini-album. Now, due to popular demand a physical CD version of this mini-est of mini-albums is coming out on October 23rd. And due to the popularity of their perky pop sound Pesky! made a frankly sensational appearance on the BBC Breakfast sofa on Tuesday August 18th.
“Right now I feel like exploding!” Pesky! sang at the start of ‘Keep Me’, the summertime lead-off track, over a lovely blizzard of shoegazing guitars, twinkling keys and sweet vocals. And explode it did, all over The Guardian, NME and thirtysomething blogs while rocking the worlds of radioheads Huw Stephens, John Kennedy, Steve Lamacq and Lauren Laverne. The second track to be taken to radio (with an impact date of October 16th) is ‘Unbelievable’, which is – unbelievably – almost even more confident and coherent and luscious and melodic than the ‘Keep Me’ tune.
Amazingly ‘Smells Like Tween Spirit’ is their first ever release. We say ‘amazingly’ 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 kids 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 the digital version of ‘Smells Like Tween Spirit’ came out on July 24th, the first Friday of the summer holidays, and why the physical CD version is coming out on October 23rd, the start of half term, because schoooool’s out forever.
Or at least until the start of next term…
1. ‘KEEP ME’
4. ‘LUCKY CHARM’
(plus CD bonus tracks ‘HOME’ & ‘SHOOTING STAR’)