Alex Bloom is set to take the worlds of rock, indie and, potentially, pop by storm. At the age of twenty two, his debut collection reveals a level of musical wisdom that the majority of artists fail to reach decades after decades of song writing. Within the
space of four minutes – the duration of his opening track – Bloom transports will transport listeners to a realm of hippy vibes and merriment. He only demands that you suspend disbelief, sit back and let the good times roll.
Commencing with an enchanting blend of vocal harmonies and melodic guitars, Eyes in The Back of Her Head initiates the album with a fervent feel of folk. Whilst the guitar playing closely resembles the instrumental framework of a Fleet Fox track, the airy vocals that soon enter the piece firmly salute the nonchalant surf rock of The Beach Boys. The poignant lyrics conveyed by a gently singing Bloom weave themselves nicely into the velvety acoustic texture of the song, wrapping it in a vocalmelancholy similar to the lyrical dispirit of The Smiths.
This is not simply an opening track: it is an auditory exhibition of the range of artists that have shaped the musical landscape of the twenty first century. A self-professed disciple of 60s psychedelic and surf rock, Bloom showcases an extensiveunderstanding of the styles that influenced post modern music throughout the album.
I Don’t Know You Anymore, conversely, is suffused with a early Beatles-esque sanguinity that alleviates the sting of its tragic lyrics. Delivering a punchier melange of classic and modern rock than its predecessor, the track recreates the magnetism of the iconic Beatles sound for a contemporary audience. The image of dejection forged by a clever choice of wording at the beginning of the song is skilfully diffused by a detailed layering of electronic guitars, vibrant drumming and cheerful piano playing. Similarly, the mournful effect produced by the mergence of dejected vocals and sombre piano playing that opens Change Your Mind develops into a lyrical hybrid of
styles – this time using hypnotic vocals and a psychedelic influence. Whilst each verse returns to the wistful piano and voice combination, the chorus imbues the track with a psychedelic collation of surf rock guitar chords, steady drum beats and hypnotic vocals, transforming into a seductive fusion of sounds. Although Bloom exhibits enviable singing and piano playing skills during each verse, the chorus – and its enticing array of sounds – epitomises what makes his artistry so exceptional: his ability to create ingenious music from well-known genres.
The soothing flow of the initial track does not reappear until half way into the sequence in One For Me, a piece that offers a brief detour from the vibrancy of the preceding songs. Dreamy guitars, mellow vocals and a light rhythmic pace knit together to create a sonic tale that echoes the sun-drenched style of The Beach Boys. One More Shot displays Bloom’s flair for poetry and immense vocal range against a backdrop of stirring guitar compositions and drumming that captures the 90s neo- psychedelic appeal that resonates among musicians today. Enchanting singing and guitar playing will absorb listeners even deeper into the auditory Elysium that Bloomm has created with the album.
Doubling as a single release, Sunrise – the shortest track on the album – lives up to the promise of its evocative title; delivering an auditory display comprised of just vocal harmonies and melodious guitar playing, it is as effortlessly striking as the morning sunrise. This is the two minutes seventeen seconds long moment in the where listeners will experience the zenith of the album. This song is an undeniable masterpiece; the sort of mellifluous triumph that aforementioned folk heroes Fleet Foxes would be envious of.
The first introduction of emphatic vocals and intense guitar playing are what mark Its Alright as incongruous against the rest of the sequence. Playing immediately after the sonic spectacle of Sunrise, it offers an anticlimactic follow-up to the piece and,
consequently, fails to attain the high standard of musical goodness that the rest of the tracks achieve. Zany guitar riffs and chords that begin the track deliver a promise of something psychedelic and daring that soon dissolves into a disappointing regurgitation of the most mundane and well-known features of classic rock.
Fortunately, however, Something closes the album with a blessed union of pleasant chords and soft vocals and returns to it the glorious folk-surf rock charm created by the opening track. Thanks to its gentle pace and tranquil focus, it represents the ideal end to a sequence so greatly indebted to 60s rock. It concludes its homage to the flower power period with the same level of musical etiquette that was demonstrated by The Beach Boys.
Undeniably one of the most thoughtful albums of the year, Blue Room offers an opportunity for escapism that is simply far too exciting to miss. Using his instrumental talent, deep appreciation for one of the most explorative genres of music, and vivid imagination, Bloom has written the perfect soundtrack for listeners in search of sunshine.
Review by Beth Andralojc