The height of many a schoolkids’ ambition might be to take the lead in school play, or perhaps snog the best-looking girl in the class behind the bike sheds. Their school band getting signed to Fierce Panda sounds so unlikely that it would be ridiculous to even dream about it. But that’s exactly what the subjects of today’s tip, Pesky, have managed. They’re all under thirteen years of age, making the previous holders of the Sharman Prize For Precocious Musicians, The Orielles, seem geriatric in comparison. What next, toddler grunge? Baby hip-hop? Where will it all end?
Having developed out of a school guitar club in Ulverston, on the edge of the lake district, Pesky have a suitably unconventional lineup, with seven members, two singers, and a boy:girl ratio of 5:2. The crucial fact is, were one not to know of their ages, ‘Keep Me’ would still be one of the best power-pop ditties of 2015. From its first second to its last there’s no wasted space, just chiming guitars, shiny melodies and armfuls of joyous punky attitude. To know its origin only adds an extra level of wonder to the whole affair. Yes, if you listen closely you can hear a touch of wobble in the lead vocal, but it’s endearing as much as distracting, and plenty of adult bands would do bad things to achieve such a level of casual insouciance. It’s just that in Pesky’s case, it’s not affected, it’s real.
‘Keep Me’ is the teaser for a six-track mini album to be released towards the end of July (actually the first Friday of the summer holidays), called ‘Smells Like Tween Spirit’ – a title that manages to be both awful and brilliant all at the same time. Of course the success of the album could lead to musical differences: arguments about whose Dad will drive them to gigs will arise, they’ll be hindered by spells in Haribo rehab, then the inevitable tell-all memoir will be written, probably as a piece of GCSE coursework. Such are the perils of childhood rock ‘n’ roll…
Words by Martin Sharman
Tipped by Ged Robinson
Generator North East, The Manse, Kingsland Church Studios, Priory Green, Byker, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE6 2DW
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