Blossoms’ third studio album feels like a continuation of their much-loved style, a well written and realised album that, though definitely a fan favourite, feels very safe, and echoes many of the same issues the band have faced with their previous efforts. Alex Tearle reviews.
‘Ribbon Around The Bomb’ is definitely a good album, with some thoroughly enjoyable tracks dotted throughout its runtime. The Writer’s Theme is a slow but enjoyable introduction to the album, fading beautifully into the second track Ode To NYC.
This pairing begins the album well- a strong combination of tracks that sets a relaxed and enjoyable tone that the rest of the record follows. Ode To NYC is a very sweet and endearing love song about the titular city, featuring harmonicas and upbeat lyric: a solid and entertaining single.
However, this song sounds exactly the same as the other singles in the album. Though it’s definitely good, it feels exactly the same as any other Blossoms song, or as if it were written for any of Blossoms’ albums, not specifically for ‘Ribbon Around The Bomb’; this is a real issue in this record. The album doesn’t feel nearly as standout as Blossoms’ 2016’s self-titled project, with a rather bland offering of tracks and feeling as if it employs a lot of filler, in comparison to the band’s prior albums.
Tracks I couldn’t hum even if my life depended on it
The album is hugely front loaded, with a middle section of tracks that feel wholly forgettable and are disappointing when considering how good the four singles were. Born Wild, Cinemara Holy Days and Edith Machinist feel like quite weak inclusions to the record, tracks I couldn’t hum even if my life depended on it, despite listening to the album through twice.
Another disappointment is the overly upbeat style Blossoms chooses, covering a lacking number of themes with relatively little depth. It would have been great to see Blossoms attempt to discuss difficult themes within these songs, especially if harsher lyrics were hidden under the happy-sounding instrumentals. It may be the case that this was attempted on ‘Ribbon Around The Bomb’, but it was far too subtle for me to notice.
I love the fact that The Sulking Poet was written about long-time fans
The tracks The Sulking Poet and Visions are exceptional though, two absolute standouts that deserve incredibly high praise. Though not necessarily classics in the same way as Your Girlfriend or Charlemagne, these two songs are instantly standouts, songs that are absolutely unforgettable, and feel like great inclusions to this album. I love the fact that The Sulking Poet was written about long-time fans, with the single named after a description of the band from a fan page – a fantastic nod to the band’s numerous and devoted fans.
Visions is also particularly interesting, a far longer song than Blossoms would usually attempt- a great change of pace that feels like a brilliant new direction for the band. This style of innovation would have been great to see elsewhere, as the album does feel very much like a continuation of Blossoms’ previous works, a disappointing thought when considering how good these two songs are.
Feels as if this album was not written with large crowds in mind
As well as this, though I’m sure Ribbon Around The Bomb and The Sulking Poet will sound incredible live, I just don’t see Care For being a track festival that crowds will chant. It doesn’t discount from the single at all, it just feels as if this album was not written with large crowds in mind- a very viable decision for those who listen to music at home, but one that may put off crowds at larger events.
Blossoms have made an album that feels quite hard to review- a conflicting record that feels simultaneously exceptional and quite disappointing. The record has done incredibly well with other reviewers and in the charts, but I can’t help but feel as if their other albums were more deserving of this praise.
Some immense singles make this album feel like a real standout, but an inconsistent and frankly boring middle section hold this album back from being a real classic. I do really enjoy this album, but I feel as if it would be a good idea to purchase it on CD instead of vinyl, in order to skip the weaker tracks.
Featured image courtesy of Alex Watkin. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.
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