Blossoms are a young emerging band hailing from Manchester, holding the hopes of so many that this magnificent music culture can continue to thrive throughout the city which gave us The Smiths, The Stone Roses and Oasis. They have been recognised as a talented group for quite a while now and are a prime example of the successes of the BBC Introducing scheme for new acts and the fame that can bring. This album has been highly anticipated after the release of hit single ‘Charlemagne’ which had such a fresh and modern sound to it and left many people intrigued as to what was next. With this album going straight in at number 1 in the UK album charts it’s a real sign of things to come not only for this band, but for bands all over the country. It’s apparent to see that this eponymous debut album has gone down a treat with fans, but how will I rate it? Let’s see what Blossoms are made of.
Charlemagne – 9/10
The lead single from the album and you can really see why. It’s a commercial smash hit and has provided optimism and belief that bands are making a comeback. It’s a short track in length but it is such a huge hit you can’t really complain, the hook and chorus is as catchy as it gets, the instrumentation is unique and modern. I love the synth used in the chorus as it really gives the song an identity and links with this modernist style of love song which is utilised very well lyrically. Imagery of nature and surroundings used to show how far he will go for his love, or his “Charlemagne” if you will. Banging track, easy to see why the band’s hype sky rocketed after this was released.
At Most A Kiss – 7.5/10
Some more modern synth on keyboards mixed in with a classic band sound on this song. The bass riff is fantastic on this, a real gem of a pace keeper for the rest of the sounds on this song, especially considering the fairly simplistic drum beat. The backing harmonies really add effect and power to the vocals on this song which do for me, at times, seem a bit isolated and drowned out. Despite that, the lyrics are again a modern outlook on love and the direction taken to find it. It’s a good song this one, the bass guitar and high pitch synth being the standouts.
Getaway – 7/10
A bit more stripped back and raw in the sound as we have a slow build up of sounds in the first verse before a harmony heavy chorus which holds the clever lyric “I’m over you, get under me” which has been a regular lyric used by fans to show their love for the band and this album. It’s not an instantly recognisable song as a single I must admit but it does show that the band can slightly edit their sound while also carrying on with the habits that got them where they are. The repetition of “tonight we can get away” at the end of the song sound like desperation from the singer (in the song’s context that is) to offer a solution to this girl he loves in order to be together and I do think it’s an effective and strong piece to end on. Good song and nice show of variety by slowing it down a bit, but it’s no Charlemagne.
Honey Sweet – 9.5/10
This song has absolute rave reviews as being the best song on the album and one of the highlights of 2016 in the indie genre. Let me tell you that you can absolutely see why, I love everything about this song, from the subtle vocals to the funky 80s sounding instrumental in the chorus to the flow of the track from start to finish. It’s just top draw. This song is under no illusions and tells the listener exactly what they are thinking, it is almost as if he is singing the song addressing it directly at you which is a fantastic touch and will bring the bond between band and fan closer together. Absolutely rocking love song, can’t really fault it for the most part, it’s a catchy tune with an easily memorable chorus and an awesome backing track, what more can you ask for?
Onto Her Bed – 7.5/10
Smooth piano tune at the start of this sounds like something out of a 1950s romance film and once the vocals kick in, the song really has an awe factor about it. The vocals are harrowing and powerful, giving us something we’ve not heard before from this band in that slower ballad style and the ability to sing with immense power and talent. There are also very memorable moments to this track which become easy to recite and sing along to, particularly in the bridge area if there is such part of a song like this you could call a ‘bridge’. At just over 2 and a half minutes long, it’s hardly a long drawn out process listening to this song and I think given the context of the track and album, it’s about right in length in order to switch up the mood and then move it back onto normality. It’s a very good switch up and a nice track without a doubt.
Texia – 8.5/10
Such a funky and bouncy song with so much energy and joy weaved within it, from the guitar riff to the lyrics. The song itself is about a girl, presumably a very empowering woman who has the ruling of many men who are infatuated with her appearance. These men are “fooled by her lipstick” and stumble at her every movement and the lead singer has become part of this desire. I really like the context of this song and there is an element in the bridge of the song which sounds like a modern twist on a western film, something which is very much in fitting with the lyrics and is a brilliant touch on an already clever song. The chorus is catchy, the lyrics are smart, it’s just a great song.
Blown Rose – 7/10
If you listen to the first 15 seconds and hear anything but Losing My Religion by R.E.M. then you don’t have an ear for music, it’s so obviously similar it’s almost painful. It also has a smattering of the Tame Impala sound about it with the electronic mix on instruments and the psychedelic sound as they all bubble together in the melting pot that is the recording studio. His voice isn’t quite Kevin Parker’s, but it’s still smooth and catchy nonetheless, suiting the track in almost every way. The imagery of the ‘Rose’ is a decent little addition to this song as elements of love, nature and location come into play on this song, all of which work well with the Rose and sound really well. Look if this song didn’t sound like something that’s already been done before then I would love it, but there are unfortunately some aspects which have been borrowed shall we say. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad song because it is still a very good song.
Smashed Pianos – 7/10
On the surface at least, this song sounds a bit darker and a bit more mysterious, particularly with the isolated piano key and the initial muffled vocals. The song springing into life about 30 seconds in does it a world of favours and with that comes an increase in quality too as the chorus becomes catchy and upbeat at least in the instrumental. It’s clear to tell who the band’s influences are on this song, with some modern twists on classic bands oozing through this, the main one having to be The Beatles without a doubt with that psychedelic nature. I really like the lyricism on this song as he sings about the struggles of a relationship and uses “smashed pianos” as a metaphor for his mental state when they are at their lowest point. It’s clever and funky and such a relief that they pulled away from that dark side at the beginning because the song was all the better for it.
Cut Me And I’ll Bleed – 8/10
One of the best instrumentals on the whole album, I absolutely adore the way the bass guitar combines with that fast paced synth keyboard to make a lively and bubbly backing track. The verse does drag at times, unfortunately, but when it clicks in and out of the chorus it springs back into life and keeps everyone engaged, despite one of the most obvious lyrics I’ve ever heard in “cut me and I’ll bleed.” Yeah this song gets no bonus points for lyricism and rightfully so because there’s not a lot to the lyrics in all honesty. What there is a lot in is the guitar solo in the bridge, that is absolutely brilliant. Great song this, another toe tapping anthem but it would’ve been even better if they cut the fairly simplistic lyrics out.
My Favourite Room – 8/10
Acoustic and sensual sounding, it’s a vulnerable track in which the lead singer is left to himself to demonstrate his talents with just him and an acoustic guitar, along with the occasional help from backing vocals. I really like the realism and how relatable the lyrics are and the fact that it’s been made into a smooth and catchy song. The harmonies on the word “you” in the chorus are great and really set the atmosphere for the whole song. I also really enjoy the piano kicking in after the outcry of “you’re gonna get it girl” in the bridge before fading back into the original song structure. Simplistic but very effective, I’ve got a lot of time for this song. I’ve also got to say, having seen videos of this dog performed live, it’s safe to say I’m not the only one who enjoys this song.
Blow – 6/10
Once again it’s another dead cool and out there backing track with both the bass and the lead guitar being the stand out talents. The lyrics are more stripped back and have a huge rhyme scheme of just about every other word linking together and it does work for the most part I quite like it. The verse is completely separate from the chorus which is a key higher in vocals and the words are more elongated and harmonised, it’s in general a lot better than the verse. The song is saved from quite a dull ending by a great guitar solo which is helped a lot by some electronics but still has that raw sound to it at its core. This song isn’t the worst thing in the world, but it does strike me as the band trying to come across as experimental and interesting in their lyrics and it just doesn’t do it for me on this particular track.
Deep Grass – 7.5/10
Save the longest track for last seems to be a habit quite a few artists have taken recently but perhaps that’s me reading into things too much. This song is a bit all over the place in the sounds and backing track but it’s a good type of all over the place. It gives the song some life and some personality which is never a bad thing. I really enjoy this song and really am a big fan of those synthesised noises that work in sync with the vocals and make themselves known without being overpowering or irritating in any way. One complaint I may have is that it doesn’t need to be this long, you get the feeling even at about half way through this song that they’re blagging it a bit and carrying on for the sake of it. It’s still a great way to end the album and picks up towards the end, once again in thanking to the great guitar playing.
Overall – 8/10
This really is a great album and a stellar job well done by Blossoms, they’ve certainly turned me into a fan of their work and now I’m already excited to hear what they have next. This album was a bubbly and all round pleasant mix of synth/keyboard sounds which made the whole thing unique and modern, along with some classic band structure and great instrumentation. I also think Honey Sweet is one of the best indie tracks I’ve heard in a long time. Well done boys, keep this up and you could well be Manchester’s next big thing.