'The band themselves seem to have oscillated between playing rockstars and popstars'PEDROPINA/FLICKR

Despite the release of two commercially successful albums, Blossoms have struggled to carve out an identity for themselves. The Stockport-quintet has been categorised as a relatively non-experimental indie-pop stereotype, not alternative enough to rival the likes of The 1975, nor commercial enough to market as a pop-boyband, but occupying a murky space in-between. The band themselves seem to have oscillated between playing rockstars and popstars, one-minute making headlines with a Gallagher-esque twitter spat between singer Tom Ogden and drummer Joe Donovan, the next covering The Bangles’ ‘Manic Monday’ in Radio 1’s Live Lounge.

Foolish Loving Spaces, though, is not marred by the same confusion. It’s as though Blossoms have shaken off the shackles of genre, worried less about being cool and more about sounding good. In doing so, the band draws on a diverse range of musical influences, showing a formidable skill in cherry-picking the best of pop through the decades and sprinkling it into their tracks, creating something eclectic, nostalgic, and yet fresh. Whilst the band cite influences of Talking Heads and Primal Scream, Foolish Loving Spaces owes more to 70s and 80s pop-disco, channelling ABBA and Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours. It is at its most gloriously ‘uncool’ that the album achieves its greatest success, delivering quality pop tracks that immediately sound like the classics from your dad’s record collection. 

Foolish Loving Spaces proves Blossoms to be pop-pioneers, and that there’s nothing wrong with liking ABBA

It’s an album which offers enough familiarity to please the dedicated fans and remain authentic, but enough progression to avoid repetitiveness. Synth-heavy ‘If You Think This Is Real Life’ rings out so euphoric it somewhat overshadows the subtly melancholic lyrics; it seems likely the track will replace ‘Charlemagne’ as the culmination of live sets. ‘Your Girlfriend’ jostles for position as the album’s lead single, and it’s hard not to smirk as Ogden takes a pop at his mates’ missus to perhaps the catchiest riff of the album. Choral tones marry signature synth in the third single ‘The Keeper’, a jubilant ode to love that helps establish Foolish Loving Places as a more diverse and ambitious project than its predecessors. Here are Blossoms at their best, and these singles indicate towards a band well worthy of a summer headline slot.

Yet perhaps what differentiates this album most from the band’s previous LPs is the quality of the album tracks. 2018’s Cool Like You featured fantastic singles, particularly ‘I Can’t Stand It’, but the album tracks seemed clumsier and less consistent, and a scattering of more stripped-back tracks like ‘Stranger Still’ left Ogden’s lyrics sounding underwhelming. There’s little danger of the same being said about Foolish Loving Spaces. Track after track delivers, not as a collection of singles but as a cohesive project. ‘My Swimming Brain’ is infectiously groovy, the music of summer nights that you can’t help but dance to. Perhaps the albums strongest track, here Ogden’s signature vocals elevate the melodic hook, and spacey instrumentals morph Tame Impala psychedelia with Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Go Your Own Way’. Closing track ‘Like Gravity’ is ambitious, an exploration of New Wave that proves the album is not just about honing their current identity, but putting out feelers for a future direction. 

These singles indicate towards a band well worthy of a summer headline slot

As an album of love songs, there are a few occasions where it risks becoming a bit too mushy. Even the best efforts of lead guitarist Josh Dewhurst can’t distract from Ogden’s soppy declaration that ‘I don’t find anything I don’t like about you’ on ‘Oh No (I Think I’m In Love)’. ‘Romance, Eh?’ sounds too much like something from a coming-of-age movie, a step backwards towards some of the weaker album tracks of Cool Like You.  

Yet despite some missteps, Foolish Loving Spaces allows Ogden to show off his impressive progression as a songwriter. Keeping the loveable naivety that seems to perfectly encapsulate the giddiness of young love, there are moments of real sophistication that even Ogden’s idol, Alex Turner, would be proud of. This marriage of boyish charm, epitomised in teenage musings such as “Thought maybe we’d go out for a movie/ and we’d forget our friends who’d be fuming” counters the brooding romanticism of heavier tracks like ‘The Keeper’ (“You bring light and dark, dark undone/ The sea that floods is love, love someone” Ogden sings) making for a more mature project without taking itself too seriously. Ogden’s lyrical evolution helps remove the band from their image of solely creating sing-a-long, festival bangers lacking substance; Foolish Loving Spaces is perhaps the first album by the band that translates to everyday-listening quite so successfully. 


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It seems a wise choice that the band chose to go back to the studio with trusted producer James Skelly of The Coral, who encouraged them towards collaborative sessions having seen how rewarding the approach proved when recording their debut album. Their loyalty has been rewarded with their best album yet; Foolish Loving Spaces proves Blossoms to be pop-pioneers, and that there’s nothing wrong with liking ABBA.

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