Blossoms ‘Blossoms’ – Review

24 Aug

Blossoms emerged as 2016’s most hyped new band on the back of a promising e.p and some perfectly selected summer support slots for Kasabian, Last Shadow Puppets and Stone Roses. Their debut album entered the chart at number one, which despite the lack of competition (very few labels bother to release albums in August) is still an impressive achievement for a band who were largely unknown twelve months ago.

‘Blossoms’ is not a bad collection of indie pop songs either. Lead singer Tom Ogden has a fine voice, very reminiscent of a hundred other male indie voices you can’t quite put your finger on. Similarly, the songs are your typical light-psych meets hard boiled indie rock fare; the type of music that The Zutons, Delays and The Coral popularised much more ingeniously ten years ago. Maybe it’s just my nostalgia speaking but Blossoms would surely have faded into the background when the competition was that strong?

The band’s saving grace is their pop instinct. These songs are precisely produced and will sound at home on Radio 1. ‘Getaway’ is basically structured like an EDM song and ‘Sweet Honey’ isn’t a million miles away from what Taylor Swift was doing on ‘1989’, with its shimmering synths and bubbling baseline. In one sense it’s a safe hedging of bets (you can already hear the cries of “sell out!”), but surely it would have been far safer to put out an obscure and stubbornly uncommercial record like Toy, Temples or Wytches recent debuts. Instead Blossoms, like The 1975 and Wolf Alice, are here to win hearts and minds. They want to be heard and they realise that will initially involve some compromise. And where they do compromise, they do so smartly.

Whilst they have the hooks nailed, blossoms have remarkably little to say. That’s the most damming flaw of the record. Their songs are filled with cliches and vague platitudes that signify absolutely nothing of substance. Ogden has cited Alex Turner as a key influence but he has none of Turner’s wit or insight, and ‘Blossoms’ is utterly humour deficient. It unjustifiably takes itself very seriously – a big mistake when you deal almost exclusively in pretend-psychedelic mumbo jumbo. That doesn’t make ‘Charlemagne’ and ‘Blown Rose’ any less hummable though. If they can add a little depth to their songwriting then they may be a band for the future.

6/10

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