Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Reviews:: Great Bloomers Speak of Trouble

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Back in ’07, I wrote some very kind words about the Ontario band, the Great Bloomers. Their debut EP was a terrific mix of southern rock, distortion, piano and nicely executed Beach Boys harmonies, but was steeped in potential. Needless to say, I’ve been waiting over a year for a follow up full length – partly because they re-released the EP and partly because the band has been touring the shit out of their songs and tightening the screws so to speak – but honestly I wish more young bands would take a page from that same book.

Their new LP, Speak Of Trouble, is a huge jump in sound for the band and shows a maturity that only comes from hours on stage and in the jam space. They didn’t rush into the studio, trying to grab a stranglehold on any of the positive praise they received, opting instead to produce and release an album when it was ready, not simply when the songs were finished. Speak of Trouble explodes out of the gate with the surging epic energy of Lobbyist. They still expose some of the same Southern rock, but it’s the dazzling piano that twinkles just behind the guitars that really completes the song.

At first I was scared the album might be front loaded, as the first four songs are all can't miss efforts, until I realized they all expose different elements to the Bloomers sound. The Young Ones Slept surges along, letting Lowell's voice grab the spotlight but the crunch and transitions really play well against more terrific piano. Honey Blanket has a country shuffle, but the band adds such a blissful sheen to the song with glistening harmonies and chugging drums and you honestly can’t help but smile and enjoy the three and a half minutes. They even change the tone with a 50’s influenced piano breakdown before jumping back into a gallop and that burst of energy flows nicely into the country jam session, AM radio feel of Daylight.

It’s probably no surprise that this record is fun (just listen to the harmonies on the title track), as the band seems to appreciate the success they’ve had, the people they’ve met and the places they’ve seen. Fever Days is as honest a tribute song as I’ve heard from such a young band. They say thanks without resorting to cheesy sentiments or forced significance and even throw in a little facemelter that doesn’t derail the song.

It’s quite obvious the young band is influenced by some of the greats – The Band, The Beach Boys and an affinity for Sonic Youth’s feedback and distortion come to mind for me – but even subtle tips of the cap come off as respectful instead of aping. The Great Bloomers are working hard to form their own sound and seemed more concerned with writing songs that stand the test of time. A lot of Canadian bands have exploded onto the scene and made some waves with catchy hits lately, but Great Bloomers seems to be setting up to make a career out this, instead of just writing some killer tracks that fade in this digital age.

By the time you reach the album closer - an unpretentious rock anthem that combines piano, guitar and a booming chorus - you can't help but let it repeat. Thorn In My Side acts as the perfect closer (for the record and a live show), as the sing-along chorus will get everyone screaming and as the harmonies fade you'll be left slightly sweaty and smiling as you and some friends walk to the doors after seeing one of your new favorite bands walk offstage after another terrific set.

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Posted at 8:09 AM by ack :: 0 comments

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