Blossoms' self-titled first effort sounds less like a debut and more like a greatest-hits album from a veteran group. Years in the making, Blossoms is indeed a compilation of sorts, culling eight of twelve songs from the Stockport band's multiple EPs, which were released as early as 2013. As such, there's a sense of disjointedness with the pacing and cohesion, feeling less like a singular vision and more like a singles collection. Nonetheless, the strength of the songwriting and Blossoms' keen knack for big hooks kindles excitement from start to finish. From the psych-sludge vibe of their earliest work through their shimmering synth evolution, Blossoms prove they can pull off everything from New Romantic sheen to trippy psychedelic groove, giving sly nods to a wide range of fellow countrymen like the Stone Roses, Kasabian, the Coral (whose own James Skelly is a producer here), Suede, and Arctic Monkeys. Frontman Tom Ogden's vocals connect the wide range of sounds, bridging a gap between Alex Turner and Richard Ashcroft, while the band -- Joe Donovan (drums), Charlie Salt (bass, vocals), Josh Dewhurst (guitar), and Myles Kellock (keyboards, vocals) -- zigzag from confident cool ("Charlemagne") to driving urgency ("At Most a Kiss"), and bucolic pleasantries ("Blown Rose") to nocturnal chill ("Smashed Pianos"). There's a lot going on here, which makes for a listen that seldom bores. "Getaway" rides an open-road Killers synth melody that merges with Keane along the way, while "Honey Sweet" carries those synths further into the 1975 territory. For fans of their early EPs, that murky darkness creeps in on a handful of tracks like the sleazy Arctic Monkeys redux on "Cut Me and I'll Bleed" and their first single "Blow." Of the newer songs, "Texia" is a standout, echoing the bass bounce of New Order and Pet Shop Boys through a Groove Armada lens. Overall, Blossoms is a strong debut that distills the best of the quintet's diverse influences into a catchy amalgam that opts to shoot for the mainstream rather than stick to the same old sound.
AllMusic Review by Neil Z. Yeung