The Truth: Pesky! are still seven kids from Ulverston, Cumbria, a small market town on the edge of the Lake District. They consist of Megan Cooper (vocals), Niamh Angell (vocals), Patsy Gillam (bass), Kate Stamp (guitar / vocals), Joseph Jackson (guitar), Jessica Webster (keyboards) and Harry Angell (drums). And when we say ‘kids’ what we mean is that the average age of Pesky! is TWELVE YEARS OLD. What better time of life to get your mittens on a Phil Spector classic, as they have done for the imminent release of ‘Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)’? None, obviously.
Right at the start of the school summer holidays, on July 24th, Pesky! startled the world with the digital release of their terrific ‘Smells Like Tween Spirit’ mini-album, not least because it contained six songs of sublime old school indiepop which was sassy, sussed and sizzling in all the right places. Before Pesky! knew it their ‘Keep Me’ track – itself a lovely blizzard of shoegazing guitars, twinkling keys and sweet vocals – was being sloshed across radio by the likes of Lauren Laverne and Steve Lamacq as well as bouncing all over the coolest of blogs, while the sevenpiece made a frankly surreal appearance on the BBC Breakfast sofa on Tuesday August 18th.
Were the Pesky! tale to end with the start of the new school term, those incredible summer dreams ripped at the seams as they put down their guitars and picked up their pens and pencils, the narrative arc would be astonishing enough. Yet the story continued (in between lashings of maths lessons, natch) unabated into the autumn: October half term saw the physical release of ‘Smells Like Tween Spirit’, with an extra two songs added to the compact disc (one of which – the effervescent ‘Shooting Star’ – is released on this here single as well). Huw Stephens promptly made it his album of the week, while the band took their first tentative steps into the live firmament with appearances at the local Heart Of Ulverston awards and as pre-match entertainment at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium. As you do.
Now comes the icing on the seasonal fruitcake, as Pesky! have taken ‘Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)’ – originally hollered in the holidays by Darlene Love in 1963 (please don’t mention Mar*ah *arey anywhere near us) – and given it a great big indiepoppin’ cuddle with their own unique school hall of sound. Much like the rest of Pesky!’s 2015 so far it is sparky, life-affirming and just a little bit unbelievable. Continuing the school holiday release plan theme, ‘Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)’ is launched on December 18th, the last Friday before Christmas Day and – no less significantly – the last day of term.
All together now: “The snow’s coming down…”