“There’s not a weak song on there,” Blossoms’ Tom Ogden told NME backstage at Leeds Festival last summer, discussing album two just as they’d put it in the can. Later that day, the victory lap for their self-titled debut would see them make their R&L main stage debut just three slots down from the headliner, ahead of Liam Gallagher and Muse. They’re not appearing this summer – but, NME asked, could 2019 be the year they top the bill? “See what comes,” shrugged Ogden. “Why not? I think two albums is enough to headline.”
If he sounds assured, then why the fuck not? Shortlisted for the BBC Sound Of 2016, they made a decent crack at becoming exactly that as they graduated from countless toilet venues to Academies and theatres; committing 12 shimmering and psych-tinged indie pop gems to record, they went on to land a No.1 album that would go gold and bag them a Mercury nod.
Now comes a follow-up that waggles two fingers at the notion of a ‘difficult second album’. The sunburst of synths on opener ‘There’s A Reason Why (I Never Returned Your Calls)’ is an effortless introduction, reaching into the most distant corners of the arenas that await it, and lead single ‘I Can’t Stand It’ is another rush of bittersweet melancholic pop, as if Brett Anderson were fronting OMD. The title track, meanwhile, seems to be the one they once threatened would carry the sound of “New Order covering Kylie Minogue”. It’s straight from the songwriting school of The Killers circa ‘Hot Fuss’, delivered with a wistful Alex Turner drawl; the same can also be said for ‘Unfaithful’, albeit with a touch of the Doctor Who theme to boot.
It’s not all pomp and bluster, mind. There are moments of tenderness and reflection to meet the bangers. While romantic through and through, Ogden’s way with words is accessible as his knack for a melody as he ponders loneliness on ‘Stranger Still’ (“since you left my heart, there’s a vacancy”) and takes a sideways look at his peers on ‘How Long Will This Last?’ (“people like you always want back what you gave them, and it’s rude”).
Like an early greatest hits, ‘Cool Like You’ is overflowing with singles. None are greater than the new-wave Blondie stomp of ‘Lying Again’, or the high-speed chase of ‘I Just Imagined You’, which ought to open either their sets or their encores for the foreseeable future. Whether or not that could be a festival headline show falls down to fate and fashion, but with their second album Blossoms have certainly had a damn good crack.