Blossoms review – rowdy crowd laps up sugar with a hint of spite

Albert Hall, Manchester
The Stockport band’s cathartic singalongs hark back to the region’s pop greats

On stage, there are dazzling strobes and a luminous backdrop. Off it, the audience bellows along with the riff to Cut Me and I’ll Bleed as a procession of eager young men in Fred Perrys and Joy Division T-shirts are carried above people’s heads. It’s a psychedelic, happening-meets-football-crowd celebration.

If all their gigs are this rowdy, it’s no surprise that Blossoms are selling out Manchester’s more prestigious venues before they’ve released a debut album. From nearby Stockport (previous big musical export: 10cc), the band are filling a previously unknown need for a mix of early Pink Floyd and Arctic Monkeys.

Blossoms don’t offer the full suburban-office-worker-sees-God’s-face-in-a-field-in-Dagenham psychedelic experience. Their music is meticulously crafted pop with a gently lysergic feel, and denim-clad singer Tom Ogden’s vocal offers sugar with a hint of spite as the band run the gamut from acoustic strumming to keyboardy electropop. They have also drunk at the fountain of the region’s pop lineage: My Favourite Room reinvents the Hollies, while the chiming Blown Rose has audible echoes of the Stone Roses and the Smiths. Like their predecessors, Blossoms have found that sensitive, literary songs can produce cathartic singalongs. There’s a more sombre moment when Ogden dedicates Charlemagne to Warrington’s Viola Beach, who would have been supporting had they not been killed in an accident earlier this month (one of the young band’s last live recordings is played to the crowd early on, to emotional cheers).

A flare goes off in the audience and the footy-psych mood returns. The entire crowd sing Blossoms’ deliciously hazy 2014 debut single, Blow, and “We’re the famous Stockport County and we’re off to Wemberlee” is surely one of the most unlikely chants adopted by a pop audience this year.


Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

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