|Years active:||Genres:||Related artists:|
|Mid 2000s - present (?)||Pop/Rock, Funk Rock||n/a|
|Release year:||Rating:||Key tracks:|
|2004||7||"One Night", "Beach" (no links I'm afraid!)|
1) One Night; 2) Off Control; 3) Deepend; 4) Beach
A snappy and incredibly promising feel-good introduction.
Blossoms were (are?) a sort-of local band to where I grew up: they caught my interest following a review in a music webzine I was a devout reader of and the download of the customary 1-2 MP3s that all grassroots artists offered through their website (or MySpace!) at the time. I've very vivid and fond memories of picking up this EP from a local music shop upon learning it was stocked there - it was formative moment for a young music geek, learning of a brand new act and supporting them from the get-go.
The four songs here made for a good introduction to the band and their upbeat groove rock sound: sunshine attitude, tropical yacht cruise funk, belief in the power of a chorus that can make people dance together. The two best songs are the ones that the band chose to re-record for their debut album as well: the boy-girl duet "One Night" is a joyride of snappy vocal parts and bright melodies, while the building drama of "Beach" shows that the band can go a little serious as well without losing any of their touch. Both could be classed as the band's signature songs to an equal degree, and the early versions here just as exciting as their more polished later versions. "Off Control" brings a little bit of crunch to its funk rock, while "Deepend" is a lazy summer afternoon disco anthem with a chilled-out party rhythm under its feet. They're not quite as exciting as the bookend tracks, but they have their strengths and complement the other two songs well to form a consistently enjoyable short collection of tunes.
The eventual debut album would refine everything shown here to the extent that it might make people other than me interested about this band as well, and this EP in itself isn't a lost treasure or an iconic entrance. However, it is four rather good songs full of audible joy and passion from a group of young guys having a great time playing together, and it's packed with a whole load of very good flashback feels about the summer of 2004 and its vacation afternoons spent listening to this 2-3 times in a row at a time. I'm not ashamed to admit in the slightest that half the reason I tune onto this 10-odd minutes these days is sweet, happy nostalgia
Physically: Slim jewel case with a front cover slip detailing the credits.
|Release year:||Rating:||Key tracks:|
|2006||7||"One Night", "Love Me for a While", "Beach"|
1) One Night; 2) Downtown; 3) Sonando de la Luz; 4) Dust to Dust; 5) Love Me for a While; 6) Get Laid; 7) Celebration; 8) Go Get It!; 9) Skyhigh; 10) Beach
Infectious grooves and floor-filling jams to back up the band's wild spirit.
There are party albums - records that go down a storm in any social gathering - and then there are albums that sound like they're part of the party. Each song is a sensory experience that takes you right in the middle of the crowd full of frenetic energy, soundtracked by someone's friend's band playing in a packed-up corner and making joyous noise that everyone is lapping up - and the band is actually good as well. Blossoms' debut album sounds like the ideal kind of house party that only exists in someone's exaggerated imagination, and its greatest feat is how just tangible that feel is in their music.
I saw Blossoms live shortly before the release of this album and while the stage was tiny and the audience almost as small, they commanded the vibe to perfection and turned a mid-day open air stage into what felt like a tight nightclub set. The greatest thing that the self-titled debut does is what so many albums try but never quite grasp, and that's perfectly capturing that raw power and chemistry the band had while performing. The songs are straight-forward and to the point, there's no messing around and nothing to hide in - the rhythm section keeps it four-to-the-floor while the band flick between funkier rock and groovier pop, the hooks are underlined for obvious sing-along purposes and everything leads to the big obvious chorus designed to get the audience jumping. But Blossoms know what they are doing and the band operates on a telepathic level to pull it off, and the album captures that completely. A lot of it is thanks to frontman Aki Toivoniemi: his Nordic accent is strong but so is his charisma, and it's that party ringleader aura that pulls the brash and bold album together. If there is one main takeaway here, it's that Blossoms were natural born stage commanders.
Two of the songs here are already familiar (to a tiny subsection of people like me): "One Night" and "Beach" were both found on the band's also self-titled debut EP and have been re-recorded here on account of becoming the obvious standouts of the EP, and both sound better than ever. "One Night"'s girl-boy cruiseship disco duet sounds bigger and bolder, and the promising could-be-hit has now gone through a training montage and is now kicking down doors to claim its throne, with a beefier backbone powering the great melodic strength of the original. The original duet partner Sara Nurmi reprises her role as well which is a delight, because her chemistry with Aki is perfect: it's equally great that she is almost part of the band throughout the record, with her vocals appearing throughout the album and working so well with Aki's with their intertwining vocal hooks. "Beach" is the one moment where Blossoms get a little more serious, closing the album with a yearning and intense rumination on life's fleeting nature: it's atypical for the band, but it's a powerful, crunchy rock and roll finale that's as close to perfection as the album gets. Of the wholly new songs, the sweat-dripping dancefloor cruiser "Get Laid" and the pogoing "Downtown" with its Britrock-flirting chorus are instant standouts; the real big one is "Love Me for a While" though, which builds from its suave string-accentuated funk rock into a series of jam finales which each could go on for minutes alone, tightening the groove bit by bit. On an album full of house party anthems, it's a giant destined for a larger stage.
The ten feel-good anthems presented here are consistent throughout: Blossoms have a clear formula that they know how to pull off and which the album barely ever deviates from. The thing with having such a clear chosen direction is that it makes the difference between the big keepers of the record and the rest that much clearer, and so is the case here too, but it's nothing to the extent that would break the tone.The album gets a little newspaper bop on the head from the faux-Latin flair of "Sonando de la Luz", whose occasional charms aren't enough to overcome my allergy for cheap Latin references, but that's the album's only real tripping point. Even on the rare occasion where things aren't necessarily quite as exciting (e.g. "Go Get It!" is a bit of a lesser retread of the relentless energy of "Downtown" and "Get Laid"), Blossoms' wild spirit picks things up - it really is an album where the interaction between everyone participating in its recording absolutely shines, and it always takes me back to that brief live appearance I saw. I'd wager that even without that personal reference point, it's clear just how captivating the band's energy throughout the record is.
Blossoms feels like it could have been the first steps of a future cult next big thing but for reasons unknown the band ended up on near in-definite hiatus following this and that alternate timeline never happened (and I would have called it a split had I not learned of the surprise follow-up album roughly a decade after this one, which I still need to get). Very few seem to be aware of this ever existing but given its strengths in what it does, it's become a regular entry in various party mixes, playlists et al I've had a hand in over the years. So, at least in a microscopic scale Blossoms' talent for a good celebration still makes itself known. There are musically greater albums than this that sound less convincing about their creators' chemistry than this low-key self-release, and that's always going to be to Blossoms' credit.
Physically: Digipak with a booklet full of doodled-on photos. There's also a dedication note for myself and the band's signatures - got this directly from them!
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