Release Date: Aug 5, 2016
Record label: Virgin EMI
Blossoms' self-titled first effort sounds less like a debut and more like a greatest-hits album from a veteran group. Years in the making, Blossoms is indeed a compilation of sorts, culling eight of twelve songs from the Stockport band's multiple EPs, which were released as early as 2013. As such, there's a sense of disjointedness with the pacing and cohesion, feeling less like a singular vision and more like a singles collection.
In an era of poptimism, five lads from Stockport citing the influence of Abba as well as Arctic Monkeys is no great surprise. What’s more striking about Blossoms’ debut is how persuasively they combine their pop and indie influences. Synths are placed front and centre in songs such as Charlemagne and Getaway, and the production frequently has the surface sheen of 1980s drivetime hits.
In a world where music journalists are regularly accused of laying it on a bit thick – from the superlatives liberally scattered in new band profiles to the insistence in some areas of the internet that every note issued by Beyoncé comes freighted with a degree of sociopolitical importance matchless in the history of popular culture – there seemed to be a winning hint of faint praise about the headline attached to one website’s recent profile of a fast-rising new band. “Meet Blossoms,” it suggested, before further enticing interest in the Stockport quintet: “They’re not wankers. ” As it turned out, this was a reference to a hugely entertaining Twitter spat that took place in May, when Blossoms became the latest artist to feel the virtual ire of Jason Williamson, in which the Sleaford Mods frontman variously derided them as “boardroom kiss arse blue tick wankers”, “a wank mess” and “catalogue band bollocks”.
Stockport quintet Blossoms have been making all the right moves ahead of their debut release, cropping up on a number of 'bands to watch' lists whilst amassing a strong enough legion of followers to warrant a BBC Radio One stage slot at T in the Park this year (a big step up from their performance on the T Break stage in 2015). Yet here comes the old adage: beware the hype. Whilst the indie pop outfit's self-titled debut does a commendable job of showing off the group's strengths – power riffs, woozy keyboard lines, stick-in-your-head melodies and an overall affiliation with Oasis, The Stone Roses and other psych-slanted rock bands of the 90s – it also exposes Blossom's soft underbelly.
When it’s not enjoying an imperial phase, guitar music does well to cosy up to pop. So, in 2016, Catfish do pop with a Liam Gallagher snarl. [a]The 1975[/a] do pop with [a]Tame Impala[/a]’s breadth. [a]Bastille[/a], meanwhile, just do straight-up pop. Enter Stockport five-piece Blossoms ….