“We want to be massive,” declared Tom Ogden to NME. “We’ve always said that and we’re not embarrassed about it. We want it. And we’re ready for it.”
It’s a bold statement from Blossoms‘ frontman and the sort of confident attitude that their idols Oasis exhibited over 20 years ago. Ever since first hearing the Stockport five-piece over two years ago – and as we watched their career progress – it’s been the direction they’ve increasingly been destined to be heading in. It helped that early on in their careers they were given a leg up by The Coral’s James Skelly, who released early singles “Cut Me And I’ll Bleed” and “Blow” through his Skeleton Key record label.
The band subsequently signed for Virgin EMI and their stock continued to rise as they were awarded fourth place in the prestigious BBC Sound Of 2016. Under the label’s watch, Blossoms have released a mighty six singles over the last year, ahead of their self-titled debut. And it’s seen them embedded in the airwaves with support from BBC Radio 1, 2 and 6, as well as the likes of Radio X and Absolute Radio. They’ve been impossible to avoid.
Still with Skelly at the helm of production, it was he who pushed them down the indie-pop route. And it’s a marriage which seems destined to propel them to where they want to be.
Let’s get the negatives out of the way first. And it’s not so much a slight on the quality of the album, more the fact that we’d heard two thirds of it before it even hit the shelves. The first four tracks are all singles and for me it takes away the excitement; that sense of anticipation of what an album’s going to sound like when you first pick up a copy. It’s safe to say that the album in its traditional form is a dying breed, but I just feel it takes some of the shine off a release.
The LP itself is full of radio-friendly pop gems like album opener “Charlemagne” and “Blown Rose”. The bands influences range from ABBA to Oasis and the Arctic Monkeys and the album is a marriage of the three, where catchy pop meets indie anthem.
That being said, it’s the band’s early, more psychedelic tracks that are the standouts for me, in particular “Cut Me And I’ll Bleed”. It’s more the direction I would have preferred to see them go down, leaning more towards the Manchester brothers than the Stockholm spouses. However, with Blossoms aiming for the big time, going down the route of the latter seems to have paid dividends.
Despite the band releasing hit single after hit single, upon listening to the full cut, there’s a feeling that we’d heard the best Blossoms had to offer on the radio. “Texia” is a solid enough track but it doesn’t hit the poppy height of “Getaway”, for example, while “Deep Grass” tries to end with a touch of their psych routes but doesn’t quite hit the mark. It’s a somewhat flat, labouring end.
Ultimately, Blossoms debut album sets them on the path towards where they want to be but with it being more a collection of good songs than a great album, that’s more the result of where the music industry is at the moment. In a week where the we reflect on their heroes Oasis’ iconic gigs at Knebworth, off the back of two of the biggest albums of the last thirty years, Blossoms is not anywhere near that level. Only time will tell if we’ll still be talking about them in ten years, let alone twenty, but for now the boys from Stockport are simply enjoying the ride.
Stand out tracks: Cut Me And I’ll Bleed, Blow, Charlemagne
Before the album had even hit the shelves, the band already had mainstream appeal with their radio-friendly singles. Ultimately Blossoms is more a collection of good songs than a great album.