New band of the week: Blossoms (No 84)

This Stockport five-piece give melodic, psych-inflected indie-pop a good name

Hometown: Stockport.

The lineup: Tom Ogden (vocals, guitar), Charlie Salt (bass, backing vocals), Josh Dewhurst (lead guitar), Joe Donovan (drums), Myles Kellock (keyboards).

The background: Blossoms are one of the (few) bands in the current Ones to Watch for 2016 lists, and you can see why. They’re unashamedly indie, but they have ambitions to be more pop. You can hear how they’ve developed and progressed since their first two singles – Blow in 2014 and Cut Me and I’ll Bleed in 2015 – on their latest EP, Charlemagne. They’ve cited as influences everyone from Arctic Monkeys to Abba, which sounds implausible, and the kind of thing young bands say when they’re vying for attention, but it’s actually not that far-fetched. There are keyboard lines here and melodic motifs there that do have the nagging catchiness of the best pop.

Besides, there’s nothing wrong with a big gob. “We want to be as mainstream as Will Smith, as great as the Smiths and as uplifting as Mr Smith Goes to Washington,” they’ve said. Stockport is within spitting distance of Manchester and this is the type of statement Manchester bands issue, going back to the Smiths, via Oasis and the Stone Roses. Manchester bands don’t speak, they proclaim. They issue statements designed to wind you up. Their songs include edicts such as “The sun shines out of our behinds” and “I wanna be adored”. Blossoms are bringing back some of this spirit of audacity and misadventure.

They’re a little bit psych, it has to be said. Well, a lot. But that’s OK. We’re as far away now from the baggy era as Madchester was from the original psychedelic scene, so perhaps it’s time to revisit that spiralling, billowing sound. But they also have some of the windswept majesty of Liverpudlian bands – it’s probably no coincidence that Blow was produced by the Coral’s James Skelly at Parr St Studios in Liverpool – not to mention some of that city’s pop classicism. Factor in an organ swirl and you’ve got something the band have termed Ethereal Nostalgic Sonance. Really, they’re just a good old-fashioned guitar band with considerable commercial promise. It’s already working: they’ve sold out Village Underground in London and the Ritz in Manchester and have announced another headline UK tour for early 2016. They’ve played SXSW and shows in Japan and Charlemagne went straight to the top of the iTunes alternative chart following its release in October.

It seems a shame to see the song relegated to the alt ghetto, however; it will surely merit a re-release if and when the band break through to the proper charts. It’s very poppy with a yelping, declarative quality to Tom Ogden’s voice that is very Brett Anderson of Suede. Across the Moor, from the same EP, has a playful funkiness to it that you might not expect from this unkempt bunch of northern longhairs. For Evelyn is a piano ballad, the voice full of anguish but still with a sense of wanting to be adored and fully expectant that it will be. Blossoms are stretching out: these aren’t just riffs or grooves in search of a tune, and the music takes unexpected twists and turns. They have songs that offer aggregates of past glories – bits of Inspiral Carpets and the Stone Roses, the Doors and the Auteurs – but the fact is, although it sounds like the most obvious thing in the world to be doing, hardly anyone is right now.

The buzz: “These British rockers will blow your damn mind” - Nylon.

The truth: They’re banging the drum for indie guitar pop.

Most likely to: Be adored.

Least likely to: Be abhorred.

What to buy: The Charlemagne EP.

File next to: the Last Shadow Puppets, the Charlatans, the Stone Roses, the Doors.


Ones to watch: Kojey Radical, Cloves, Rejjie Snow, Jim Charles Moody, Rationale.


Paul Lester

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
New band of the week: Gulf (No 29)
Limpid guitar lines, massive hooks and crystalline melodies: new Liverpudlian band Gulf make ravishing psychedelic pop, drenched in reverb and melancholy, writes Paul Lester

Paul Lester

31, Oct, 2014 @2:07 PM

Article image
The perils of being ahead of your time: World of Twist and Five Thirty

Saint Etienne's Bob Stanley remembers two early 90s bands who shone brightly and briefly, then disappeared

Bob Stanley

16, Dec, 2013 @11:00 AM

Article image
Ian Brown and Johnny Marr to record music for TV series

Tired of being pestered by Stone Roses/Smiths reunion rumours, the pair are to form a Mancunian soundtrack supergroup instead

Sean Michaels

30, Sep, 2009 @8:40 AM

Article image
Snub TV: cult music show that unearthed the underground
The no-frills cable show captured 80s and 90s bands at their most bonkers – from Napalm Death’s growling mayhem to New Order calling U2’s singer ‘that bongo guy’. Co-founder Pete Fowler explains why nothing else has come close

Daniel Dylan Wray

06, Jun, 2017 @10:04 AM

Article image
The 100 greatest BBC music performances – ranked!
As the Beeb celebrates its centenary, we take a look at its most memorable pop moments, from the birth of grime to the first sightings of Bob Dylan and Bob Marley, plus TOTP goes Madchester and countless classic Peel sessions

Guardian music

06, Oct, 2022 @12:12 PM

Article image
Madchester remembered: 'There was amazing creative energy in Manchester at the time'

Shaun Ryder, Peter Hook, Tim Burgess and other key figures in the Madchester scene share their memories of the sounds, the clothes and atmosphere with Luke Bainbridge

Interviews by Luke Bainbridge

21, Apr, 2012 @6:13 PM

Article image
Stone Roses reunion shows sell out in 14 minutes
Manchester band announce third date after selling more than 10,000 tickets a minute for their Heaton Park gigs

Michael Hann

21, Oct, 2011 @11:03 AM

Article image
How Madchester put the E into enterprise zone…
In the late 80s, acid house and ecstasy turned Manchester into Madchester and helped in the rebirth of a great city, writes Miranda Sawyer

Miranda Sawyer

21, Apr, 2012 @6:12 PM

Article image
Spike Island at 30: the Stone Roses gig was scary, shambolic – and pure bliss
It was an outdoor show that would enter indie folklore, a milestone night in British music history. One fan looks back on Madchester’s ultimate messy party

David Barnett

27, May, 2020 @4:00 PM

Article image
New band of the week: Anteros (No 114) – bitter dream pop for heartbroken dancers
Meet the smart indie band with 60s pop savvy, 70s new wave ’tude and 90s swagger

Paul Lester

01, Aug, 2016 @7:00 AM