Blossoms – Foolish Loving Spaces: yet another pop masterclass (with added disco and Talking Heads)

The Stockport heroes try on David Byrne’s over-sized suit for size. The fit? Pretty damn nice

Blossoms are a band defying time. The Stockport five-piece’s current look is straight from the ‘70s, with daring flares, silky shoulder-length and the odd porn-star ‘tache. They utilise the same party-vibes as ‘80s bands like Talking Heads. And their playful, often self-deprecating hijinks recreate the mischief of ‘90s Britpop and grunge. For example: they’ve got a podcast where the lads shoot the shit, and it’s recorded in the pub. Its name? The Blossoms Pubcast. Straight-talking, efficient and a good laugh – that’s the Blossoms mantra.

This fusion has come to a head spectacularly on their third album in four years, ‘Foolish Loving Spaces’. Their mammoth, chart-topping debut album in 2016 – bolstered by breakout single ‘Charlemagne’ – established a firm base in their native Stockport and soon festival fields across the nation. 2018’s slick follow-up ‘Cool Like You’ was born out of their time on the road, the band whizzing through new wave and electro for an album stuffed with killer singles.

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It makes ‘Foolish Loving Spaces’ a reset of sorts. The band found time to head back into the studio with their trusted producer James Skelly (The Coral) and revisited the same kind of jam sessions that helped forge their electrifying early material. This approach has sent them off in some marvellous directions; the album brims with gospel vibes, filthy grooves and refines frontman Tom Ogden’s razor-sharp pop songwriting.

The misconception that Blossoms are just Lads with Guitars is gleefully shattered as both disco (‘My Swimming Brain’) and Strokes-style electro-rock (‘Like Gravity’) are not just explored, but mastered. Most importantly, it’s just loads of fun.

The album’s opener is a perfect example of marrying evolution to ethos. ‘If You Think This Is Real Life’, powered by bombastic stabs of synth and clattering percussion, harnesses the vibrance of Talking Heads funky fifth album ‘Speaking In Tongues’ and, er, Black Lace’s one-hit wonder ‘Agadoo’. Ogden here, however, is at his most taut – he flips from recanting the messy end of a relationship to employing the band’s tendency to not overthink: “You said that we should get help / You thought we’d talk it out / Fuck what the therapist said / It’s just something he read”. It is, perhaps, the most memorable and joyful song they’ve ever done, set to dethrone ‘Charlemagne’s reign as their live show’s most euphoric moment.

Ogden’s way of cutting through the bullshit – and tell relatable, charming stories of love, heartbreak and more – is mitigated by some of their gooiest songs to date. You can basically hear the butterflies flapping in Ogden’s stomach on ‘Oh No (I Think I’m in Love)’, as the band embrace disco grooves and ABBA-sized choruses, while the soaring ‘Falling For Someone’ is an ethereal, modern take on Crowded House’s ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’, replete with lovelorn lyrics: “You’re one of a kind / Here I lay lost in a moment, when will I wake up?” 

For the converts there’s enough familiarity and boundary pushing to justify continuing to invest in this band, right as they begin playing their first headline arena shows on their upcoming spring tour. But for the doubters and sceptics still on the fence, this album might prove even more enjoyable and surprising. Only a fool would deny themselves this collection of big pop bangers.

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Release Date: January 31

Record Label: Virgin EMI

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