“Fun, Fast, & Honest”: Glasgow’s Spyres Are Loud n’ Proud ‘Karaoke Sellouts’ on Soaring Sophomore EP

Spyres © 2024
Spyres © 2024
A smile-inducing five-track fever dream, Spyres’ sophomore EP ‘Karaoke Sellouts’ is radiant and relaxed, fun and fiery: An indie rock revelry channeling youthful energy and charged emotions into a damn good time for all.
Stream: “Money” – Spyres

Once upon a time, calling someone a “sellout” was the ultimate insult – and one that, levied in the right context, could kill a band and their reputation in one fell swoop.

It’s still a dirty word in the music world – a justifiable “taboo” in several circles – but to their credit, Glasgow’s Spyres have added some much-needed levity to the loathed term. A smile-inducing five-track fever dream, their sophomore EP Karaoke Sellouts is radiant and relaxed, fun and fiery: An indie rock revelry channeling youthful energy and charged emotions into a damn good time for all.

Slip away from your troubles, and step into the Scottish band’s electric, invigorating world as they turn up the amps and tune out the noise.

Karaoke Sellouts EP - Spyres
Karaoke Sellouts EP – Spyres
Last day of being nineteen
I’ll stay here in my daydreams
And every time they try to wake me up
I always block them out
There was something ’bout you
And the rain that cold November
You’ve been talking to yourself
But you say you can’t remember
Is it time that we grew up?
God, I never want to feel this old…
This timе we can sleep forever
In my mind wе can be together
It seems everything is better in my daydreams
I like it up here in the clouds
– “Sleep Forever,” Spyres

Released November 24, 2023 via LAB Records, Karaoke Sellouts is unrelenting and uncompromising: A spirited, sonically and emotionally charged collection that sees Spyres’ Kiera McGuire, Emily Downie, Jude Curran, and Alex White hitting harder than ever before whilst simultaneously spreading their wings and seeing just how high (and far) they can fly. An amalgam of spellbinding pop, fierce rock, sprinklings of surf, a peppering of punk, and even some tasteful folk stylings coalesce in the young Glaswegian band’s second EP, the follow-up to their 2022 four-track debut Dear Diary – and a true testament to their collective talents.

Spyres © 2024
Spyres © 2024

“As this is our second EP, we felt like the only way to go was to develop the attitude of making a record even better than Dear Diary,” Emily Downie, who shares lead duties with Kiera McGuire, tells Atwood Magazine. “We were so proud of our first EP as we had a lot of time to prepare for it and had been playing a couple of the songs in our sets for quite a while. So when Karaoke Sellouts came around, I don’t think we felt as much pressure and just wanted to get a bit more creative with the tracks. Each song tells a different story and explores different kinds of genres that still sound like they can all be a part of the same family.”

“Both writing and recording the EP was a fast turnaround for everyone. It was during a really busy time for us so I think our brains were on overload and we just wanted to write new tunes and play them in our live sets. We really take into account the live aspect of our tracks when writing them as we always want them to reflect even better at a gig setting so that really helped us see through the EP as a whole and just catch that vibe and stay on a roll throughout the process. A couple of the instrumental tracks were laid down with just a basic vocal melody before any lyrics were even written so after sitting on them over the Christmas period, we changed them up a bit with a fresh mind and we were so proud of the results.”

If you know what I’m on about
I wanna be the thing
Don’t ask me what it’s all about
Take it or leave it, take it or leave it
Messed up, out of luck
Tongue tied, hockey puck
Cheat mode, speak in code
I know, but you don’t
Suitcase, out of place
Disappear with no trace
Full swing, boxing ring
Dripping in the hot spring
It’s that thing, it’s that thing
– “The Thing,” Spyres

The band collectively describe Karaoke Sellouts as fun, fast, and honest.

“[The title] Karaoke Sellouts is actually one of the lyrics in the song ‘The Thing,’” Downie explains. “We were just making up random, silly phrases for the big build-up towards the end of the song, so we brought up loads of photos from our camera rolls to give us some inspiration and I’m sure there was a video of us on tour last year singing karaoke at a random bar in Bristol, and that’s where the title came from. At first thought we never had that in the running for the EP title, however, when we had to submit the EP name, it kind of just stuck and we thought it just sounded really cool, as ‘The ‘Thing is also probably all of our favourite song from Karaoke Sellouts, so it only felt right to honor it as best we could!”

Some EPs come and go in an instant – blink and you miss them completely – but Spyres make their voices heard and their instruments known, to the point where there’s no denying Karaoke Sellouts once it starts playing. The band make the most of sixteen minutes’ time, hitting hard straight out of the gates with the groovy, gutsy “Sleep Forever,” which turns writer’s block and its accompanying funk into a cathartic coming-of-age reckoning.

Spyres © Daniel Blake
Spyres © Daniel Blake

Second track “The Thing” is an undeniable standout – its catchy singalong lyrics, harmonized vocal melodies, and tight beats making for an unforgettable, instantly memorable listen – though the words themselves might take a few listens to memorize!

“I believe that the lyrics of ‘The Thing’ are a favourite among all of us,” Kiera McGuire smiles. “It’s so different from everything we have ever done before. Although the lyrics play a crucial role in the song, I find the overall concept of the song equally fascinating. The idea of us alluding to this mysteriously amazing ‘thing’ while singing a collage of seemingly random and absurd words adds a layer of humour and cleverness to the track. You would think that writing a song like this would be quick and easy, but it took a lot of thought and consideration to pick the perfect words to use, spending hours searching through our camera rolls to select funny memories and random nonsense to include in the lyrics.”

“There’s also some lyrics in the last track, ‘Someone I Can’t Live Without,’ which is an acoustic ballad ode to Emily’s and my friendship and a nod to our acoustic roots before the days of loud drums and massive guitar solos. Some of our favourite lyrics would be ‘All the phases you’ve seen me through, all the stages I’ve played with you.’”

“Someone I Can’t Live Without” is another striking highlight; its golden-hued vocal harmonies, reminiscent of groups like First Aid Kid, Overcoats, and JOSEPH, send shivers down the spine as, against a softer acoustic backdrop, McGuire and Downie cinematically spill their guts.

“Once again, ‘Someone I Can’t Live Without’ stands out as one of my personal favourites and an understated gem within the EP,” McGuire says. “The boys are an absolute asset and bring an immense value to the band, with their contribution being an integral part of the unique essence of our sound. It’s hard to imagine the band without them now. However, unless someone has delved deep into the extensive YouTube archives of Spyres, many might not realise that Emily and I shared a friendship and history as an acoustic duo long before Spyres evolved into its current form. Paying tribute to that earlier era of the band in this new EP felt like a gratifying nod to our musical journey.”

“Lastly, the reception of our second EP surpassed our expectations, leaving us genuinely thrilled. The feedback and positivity from fans, particularly as we embarked on a new era of Spyres, stands out as a highlight in their own right. It’s immensely gratifying to witness such support and enthusiasm as we navigate this exciting phase in our musical journey.”

Spyres © Daniel Blake
Spyres © Daniel Blake

From the rush and roar of “Only This Could Happen to Me” to the hot, bass-y strut of “Money” and of course, the rip-roaring rush of “The Thing,” Karaoke Sellouts is an irresistible high – truly a damn good time for all who join Spyres in their unabashed celebration.

Honestly, what are you waiting for?

“I think we have definitely grown more not only as artists, but also as songwriters,” Downie shares, “specifically with the last track ‘Someone I Can’t Live Without,’ that’s probably our most raw and honest track yet and we had a great time writing it, reflecting on the past eight years since Keira and I have been friends. We just hope people can listen to the record and take it as a moment of escapism. We know people live very busy and hectic lives, so any chance for someone to just zone out for a little while and either relate to the lyrics in tracks or just totally unwind, we do it for you guys.”

‘Even with the reception from the fans, it’s definitely helped us feel a lot more secure in our craft as we sometimes get a sense of imposter syndrome but with all the great responses, it’s definitely put into perspective that we can do this and see ourselves in this position full time as that is definitely the long term goal for us.”

“It also represents a variety of musical ideas that we have been harvesting for some time. It served as a platform for us to release new songs we genuinely enjoyed, free from the constraints of a predetermined musical trajectory. This EP not only encapsulates the discovery of an elevated sound for Spyres, but also serves as a testament to the strides we’ve made and the growth we’ve experienced over the years of age 17 to 21.”

Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Spyres’ Karaoke Sellouts EP with Atwood Magazine as the band goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of their sophomore EP!

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:: stream/purchase Karaoke Sellouts here ::
:: connect with Spyres here ::
Stream: ‘Karaoke Sellouts’ – Spyres

:: Inside Karaoke Sellouts ::

Karaoke Sellouts EP - Spyres

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Sleep Forever

‘Sleep Forever’ was a fun track to both write and record as I remember we were struggling with what to actually write about so ended up beginning the first line of the song with ‘My head is full of nothing’ which was taken quite literally, however after we got past that line it all came out really easily, with the themes of wanting to stay in your own picture perfect world that no one can interrupt. It was a really fun way to turn a writing block into a really cool metaphorical and melodic song.

The Thing

We really think ‘The Thing’ just speaks for itself. When those words were brought up in a writing session, we thought there were so many avenues to go down and so much it could be about hence the extensive lyrics in the chorus and bridge. We never actually come to a conclusion of who or what The Thing is as we wanted to leave the listener wanting to know more.  This is a much more mature sound for us and a direction we can really see ourselves going towards in the future.

Only These Things Happen to Me

‘Only These Things Happen to Me’ started out as something quite different from what it is today as we laid down all of the music prior to writing the lyrics but we did have a rough melody, however after giving it a bit of time, we revisited this and thought of a completely different idea, exploring the themes of being in a relationship and falling out of love or more commonly known these days as getting the ‘ick’. This  track was heavily inspired by shoe gaze influences as we incorporated big reverb vocals into the bridge and jangly guitars which the lyrics heavily complimented.


‘Money’ was laid down straight after Sleep Forever and a real buzz was around the room as musically we already were so proud of the catchy and poignant bass riff throughout the track giving it such an edge. We had come up with the idea of the story as something kind of similar happened to ourselves as our van got robbed while on our tour in 2022. We created this deeper narrative and intensified the story, bringing it to life and very easy to visualise.

Someone I Can’t Live Without

For our acoustic track ‘Someone I Can’t Live Without’, before the EP was actually pulled together, we had spoken about doing a stripped back song and putting it as the last song in our next body of work. Starting as an acoustic duo we wanted to go back to our roots. This is a very emotional song and some of our most vulnerable lyrics yet as it looks back on a younger version of ourselves and all of the ups and downs we have went through while sticking together as best friends.

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:: stream/purchase Karaoke Sellouts here ::
:: connect with Spyres here ::

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Karaoke Sellouts EP - Spyres

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Karaoke Sellouts

an EP by Spyres