Blossoms’ second album redefines the traditional ‘Manchester band’ stereotype13th May 2018
Blossoms are a five-piece from Stockport, Manchester. To lesser-known fans, they have the presumed airs and graces of predecessor-Mancunian musicians. Since forming in 2013, they are five young guys enjoying life and music, with a bonus well-curated style and dress sense.
However, unlike their forefathers, they are unabashed embracers of a radio-friendly sheen, thanks to their use of synthesisers and keyboard melodies. Blossoms’ debut eponymous album was released in 2016, which smashed to number 1 in the UK charts and went gold in June 2017. In the intervening years, they have completed a mammoth UK, European, and worldwide tour – 107 shows in 2016 alone – and supported the Stone Roses, Liam Gallagher, the Courteeners, and Noel Gallagher at arena dates. Topping it off, they were nominated for a Mercury Prize and Best British Breakthrough at the Brits and played at the One Love concert to reopen the Manchester Arena. It has been a meteoric rise in the musical zeitgeist. With much to live up to, their second album, ‘Cool Like You’, was released on 27 April. They have taken what made their debut so uniquely beloved – romantic lyricism, 70s vibes and catchy-hooks – and have pumped the second album full of related lovesick energy. It’s enough to make the more savagery-loving and middle-finger-raising indie fan a bit suspicious. But British music is nothing in this day and age if it does not move forward. As much as many fans may like to believe, we cannot keep reliving the days of bad nights out, unrequited love and soul-searching cigarette habits à la Arctic Monkeys, circa 2007. As the Kooks, and more recently Catfish and the Bottlemen have demonstrated, this may serve as the material for at least two records, but thereafter, with nothing new to say and no unique sound in which to say it, relevancy fades and obscurity beckons.
What Blossoms have done is regenerate a fallow indie-rock scene dominated by the ghost of bands past by injecting it with an edgy effervescence without ripping up the traditional blueprint
Listening to this sophomore album, Blossoms are hardly reconcilable as a guitar-band; instead, they are proclaiming an alternative ‘alternative music’, one that appeals to the staunch radio and chart-lover as much as the traditional Britpop and late noughties indie-rock fan. For this, Blossoms will face criticism. Part of their initial popularity was their reputation as the latest reincarnation of a true Manchester band – defiant, loud-mouthed, and overwhelmingly talented. However, this criticism is narrow-minded. For all their use of light euphony and rose-tinted imagery which painted them more a Pale Saint than a Stone Rose, in effect, what Blossoms have done is regenerate a fallow indie-rock scene dominated by the ghost of bands past by injecting it with an edgy effervescence without ripping up the traditional blueprint. ‘Cool Like You’ is a literal two-fingers to those who would have pigeonholed them as a certain type of ‘band’. There is still the same combination of swagger, belligerence and vigour in this album that draws the best of us towards the self-effacing alternative scene. If anyone hasn’t listened to Blossoms, I charge them to do so now.