Considering the start that Bloxx have had, you’d forgive them for having some high ambitions this year. Since 2016, things look to have gone rather swimmingly. They’ve played massive venues with Two Door Cinema Club, The Wombats and Pale Waves, as well as landing a coveted slot opening one of the big stages at Reading & Leeds Festival. With every release, and every opportunity kicked their way, there was a bigger one lurking around the corner. You know what happened next.
“We really thought 2020 was going to be Bloxx’s year,” vocalist and guitarist Fee Booth tells NME in a sparse Old Blue Last in east London, mere weeks before the release of their debut album, ‘Lie Out Loud’. “I want everything about this band to go perfect, you know?”
This period has provided a lesson in coming to terms with what one can and cannot control. There are – as of right now – pretty much no live shows, festivals or instore gigs for the foreseeable future, which are crucial for a release like this. Back in March, another massive UK tour with Twin Atlantic to build support got canned halfway through. Look, COVID-19 will do that kind of shit to a band.
But, crucially, the songs on ‘Lie Out Loud’ – something they’re able to steer along how they please – remains poignant and powerful, a warm coming-of-age record that deals with the trials and tribulations of young love. After all, these emotions are universal and pandemic-proof.
“No one can expect this album to be as big as it could have been and do the things that we thought maybe we could push it to do,” she says, reluctantly. “We’re just focusing on getting this album out, then we’ll be working on releasing more stuff.”
Perseverance is one that’s baked into the Bloxx DNA. By virtue of their first ever gig of not being a complete disaster – no bottles thrown nor punch-ups on that particular night at The Crown & Treaty in their local Uxbridge – they continued to book rehearsal and pen songs on the fly. Their first proper anthem, ‘Your Boyfriend’, came out of their fizzing first band practice. A day later came the moody charm of ‘You’, a song which Fee now calls “the beginning of the fairytale”.
Barely two years later, they were at London’s Alexandra Palace to support The Wombats, all the while holding down a job in Uxbridge’s Wetherspoons. By all accounts, there was no bottling nor a riot to get them off, but Fee is humble in her assessment of that appearance. “We were probably the worst band anyone has ever seen at Ally Pally,” Fee laughs. “I can say that with the confidence that if we played it now, we’d sound a thousand times better. We want to prove that we could play with the big boys.”
‘Lie Out Loud’ is the blueprint, then. It’s a 12-track indie-pop break-up albun amassing that arsenal of cathartic anthems for those huge live moments (whenever they do return). After all Fee says there’s “there’s nothing like a relatable lyric that you can shout back at a gig. “We’re just not those angry kids anymore. I’ve grown up and realised it’s OK to do pop music. There are a couple of songs that I did in writing sessions that will never make a Bloxx record because they are so pop, they could be by Dua Lipa.”
Full of direct, heartfelt lyrics, Lie Out Loud sees Fee wearing their heart on their sleeve and, their emotions blatantly. “I wanted everyone to feel included with this album. With everything that’s been going on recently with the BLM movement and what’s happening in Lebanon, everything should be so inclusive right now. You shouldn’t ever exclude someone with your music.
“We want to be the voice for our generation and the ones to come, to show them that it’s possible as a woman to sing about loving women. I used to worry about what my parents would think but it’s about normalising stuff. I feel like this is a record to empower people.”
The plans are slightly off, but “it does still feel like we are the luckiest people in the world,” they say. “We have put the work in, though. When I think about where I want to be in five years, I want to do what Arlo Parks is doing. I want to do something so interesting that it breaks the scene”. The wheel is broken, the game is changed – perhaps Bloxx will be there to pick up the pieces.
Bloxx’s ‘Lie Out Loud’ is out Aug 28