Blossoms - Blossoms (Virgin EMI)

Blossoms – Blossoms (Virgin EMI)

“He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.” Nietzsche had an extensive array of unique chat-up lines, which may go some way to explaining why he never married. However, we may return to him shortly.

The ubiquitous Blossoms have been impossible to ignore in recent months, relentlessly driven forward on a collective bandwagon of major label cash and premier league PR. If they are yet to cross your field of vision then you’re either a cave dweller or Tim Peake. Now, at long last, their debut release is upon us, imaginatively titled Blossoms. Yes, really. As expected, Blossoms present twelve tracks of lament and heartbreak set against the backdrop of an imposing and destitute Stockport skyline…or at least I wish they had.

Blossoms is shiny, polished and machine-tooled to within a gnat’s whisker of its humble existence with the opening three tracks indicative of their personal manifesto. All three singles ‘Charlemagne‘, ‘At Most A Kiss’ and ‘Getaway’ are drenched in sickly sweet synths coupled with teeth-rotting melodies which frustratingly bury their way into your cranium and refuse to be coaxed out. Think A-ha at their most soporific and you’re in the right ballpark.  Amazingly, they follow this up with ‘Honey Sweet‘ which is precisely what it says on the tin.

What has always troubled me about Blossoms is that I’m never convinced of who they really are. The Music Industry Rule Book dictates that five long-haired scruffy urchins from ‘oop North’ ought to be churning out wholesome indie rock and not glossy pop so clean you could eat your Sunday lunch off it. So are Blossoms merely pretenders who are being touted around by their label  or is there far more depth than their early singles would indicate? Well if you put the banal, vacuous lyrics to one side then the remainder of Blossoms reveals an enigmatic underbelly. ‘Smashed Pianos’, for example, is a weird hybrid of a T-Rex stomp combined with the melancholy of fellow Mancunians I Am Kloot. Similarly, ‘My Favourite Room‘, arguably the stand out track, seemingly a local homage to Chorley boys Starsailor. Stripped of the infuriating keyboards, this is a simple paean to love and loss and if Blossoms want to endure in the industry this is where their future lay.

‘Cut Me And I’ll Bleed’ is The Verve having a day off, just to complete the North-West eye-spy and ‘Blow‘ is more glam-rock to stamp your clogs to, although why it’s buried so far down the album isn’t obvious…or perhaps it is. Left to their own devices, Blossoms could…well…blossom. But right now they are hot property and Blossoms feels rushed and incomplete just to satisfy the business model.

Or perhaps I’ve spent too long gazing into the abyss and Blossoms is what stares back. As Nietzsche would doubtless advise us, existential nihilism dictates that all human life is insignificant and meaningless anyway so whatever I say, Blossoms will sell by the bucket-load. Blossoms, a nihilists wet-dream, they should put that on the poster.

Blossoms is released on 5th August on Virgin EMI

  1. Oh dear! This piece is missing the point entirely… Aren’t indie guitar bands allowed to be melodic anymore? This review says “glossy pop so clean you could eat your Sunday lunch off it” as if it were a bad thing for an indie guitar band to be dealing in, while also commenting that “I’m never convinced of who they really are”, like having more than one style is a bad thing. Yet if this was an obscure band on a small indie label, no doubt their opinion would be completely different. I find it extremely odd and contradictive that certain people can praise mainstream pop stars for their simple, bright melodies, and then dismiss indie guitar bands for doing the same thing. Good job lots of people quite rightly love this album by this superb band.

    1. Some of the best modern indie bands could be described as melodic indie (Real Estate, Beach House, Best Coast) the difference between them and Blossoms is that they have great hooks and know how to use atmospherics to enhance their music instead of being the only thing it has going for it. The Blossoms songs I’ve heard are completely empty and not memorable in the slightest. The last thing the music scene needs is the second coming of The Bravery.

      As for this, “Yet if this was an obscure band on a small indie label, no doubt their opinion would be completely different”. Not sure why people ever need to make excuses or find reasons for why people don’t agree with their tastes. Why would you assume that the reason they’re successful is why we don’t like them? If they were selling no records, I’d still think they were utterly useless.

      “Good job lots of people quite rightly love this album by this superb band”. I’m going to use this quote next time you slag off any popular pop artist that you hate which should be any second now. It’s like when you quote Oasis’ record sales to prove their quality. Westlife and One Direction sold a lot of records too you know.

      1. Personally i think many of these songs have better hooks than anything i’ve heard from Beach House or Best Coast. Does ‘Getaway’ or ‘Charlemagne’ not have hooks? i made the point about obscure bands because ANY guitar band who have been successful in recent years always get this treatment, name one that hasn’t? it seems like lots of people’s opinions are based around two extremes: obscure and difficult alternative music or ultra mainstream pop of the most commercialised kind. and yet any band with a guitar isn’t allowed to be melodic and successful anymore. Thank God this sort of attitude wasn’t a big thing in the 90s, we wouldnt have had britpop otherwise…

  2. I have to be honest, Ben, I think they’re tremendously dull too. Just don’t excite me at all in any way. Be thankful that Dean did this review and not me…

  3. It is contrived and has not even a milligram of charm. It is pretentiousness – they are pretending. Craven and useless.

    It is not art and it has no value.

      1. I think the point is, why go to all the effort of learning an instrument and forming a band when you have absolutely nothing to say? What do the members of this band get out of it? The fact that the general public enjoy shite, boring music has long been established, but what do the bands themselves get out of it, especially these days when there isn’t much money to be made? Wouldn’t it just be easier to become an accountant or something?

  4. I want beauty in my music, and truth. Whereas what we find here is five blank-eyed boys with terrible, terrible hair making the music they think they ought to make. The fakery, the lack of any intellectual effort or original thought, is obvious. Pallid young things, making a neutered, sad sound with all the soul of a firm of West London lawyers. Music to fuck to, if you like fucking your own coffee table.

    I would like to add, with the sigh of a man exiting a funeral, that I have seen them live, and that I remembered not a note afterwards.

    1. That line about the coffee table made me LMAO. I’m in a shitty Airbnb flat in Singapore and I’m looking at the cheap coffee table in front me, and thinking about sticking some Blossoms tunes on Youtube and giving it a good seeing to

    2. I had the same live experience as you Jordi – just a big wash of unremarkable songs, no dynamics, no presence. The only song I’ve heard more than once is Charlemagne and it sounds cloying and lifeless. I think the production is a big part of the problem but there isn’t much of a melody there either.

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God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.