Until You Make It (Flowers)
Beatrice Kristi (beabadoobee) has been rising up the ranks of the contemporary indie rock landscape. Bursting on the scene with the sweet, lofi, and now TikTok poisoned cut ‘Coffee’ a few years ago, Kristi has since signed a deal with Dirty Hit, toured with Clairo and The 1975, and has now emerged with her debut album - Fake It Flowers.
‘Flowers’ has Kristi fully embracing her 90s rocker dream. Building on last year's Space Cadet EP, beabadoobee has traded the acoustic for offset guitars, complete with huge drums and a few excellent hooks. With Space Cadet, Kristi showed herself slowly delving into a sound that she has always clearly wanted, but through this debut LP we hear and artist going all in.
Lead single (and album opener) ‘Care’ is an infectious track. Lead guitarist Jacob Budgen while a later addition to the lineup, is an exquisite introduction to the sounds of Kristi's world. It feels like a middle ground between the jangly, chorus-laden pop of the 80s and the searing, fuzzy tones from the 90s, but ‘Care’ also highlights one of Kristi’s better vocal performances. Sounding more comfortable and confident than ever before, this record maintains a bubbly charisma while still providing a confident rock vocal presence.
On ‘Together’ - a personal highlight - Louis Semlekan-Faith’s drumming goes HARD. It's a straight up 90s revival banger; guitar tones are gritty whilst still maintaining clarity, and Kristi’s voice sits satisfyingly on top of the noisy choruses. ‘Worth It’ also ticks the same boxes providing a beastly, yet sugary slice of indie rock, and closer ‘Yoshimi, Forest, Magdalene’ is absolutely mental. It is noisy and chaotic and Kristi’s yelling gets more ferocious as the song goes on. I appreciate ‘How Was Your Day?’ too as an example of the art of perfectly placed track listing. A slow acoustic ballad, all recorded on a simple four-track, as the penultimate song it really brings some closure to Flowers as an album filled with heavy drums and loud riffage.
From the singles, I felt my high hopes for this record disappear. They weren't bad songs, but they didn’t do a lot for me either, especially in comparison to her earlier music. However, from listening to the LP in full, it brings context to the tracks which is impossible to get just from singles. As mentioned in my single review back in August, I was not a fan of ‘Sorry’. It felt too generic and too all over the place, but it's grown on me, at least a little, after hearing it in the context of the album. ‘Emo Song’ (also lazily titled) is passable. Slow, quieter songs are Kristi’s background but this is filler. It adds nothing new or interesting to the track listing. It is not a bad song by any means, it just doesn’t really need to be there.
I think my biggest issue is how safe Kristi played it. I wrote some months ago about the incredible potential beabadoobee clearly showed, but with Flowers it seems that Kristi has barely ventured into more exciting territory. This is understandable - it IS a debut record after all, and Kristi is still very young. But due to the hype surrounding Beabadoobee over the past few, Fake it Flowers is a little underwhelming in parts.
Though one of the UK's better indie rock albums of the year, Fake it Flowers is far from perfect. The influence is a little too blatant at points, and the songwriting formulae do grow stale as the album goes on, but if the filler could have been axed, this would have made for an EXCEPTIONAL extended play. Despite its flaws, Beabadoobee’s debut album is a fun dose of 90s tinted slacker rock. It's not going to hold masses of influence, or shift the musical landscape, but if you’re into the 90s, chances are you’ll love this.
- 6.9 (nice) -
'Together', 'Charlie Brown', 'Care'
James Mellen is currently studying as a guitarist and producer based near Bristol. Interests include silly effects pedals, Yorkshire tea and 100 gecs.
Thanks for reading! Slow Motion Panic Masters is a music, arts and culture blog created and edited by Ben Wheadon, a literature student and musician based at the University of Oxford.
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