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Indie/Indie Rock Reviews

Review: Beabadoobee – Fake It Flowers

Fake It Flowers the debut album by the ever so popular Gen Z icon Beabadoobee has finally dropped and it’s everything we could have wanted and then some. Bea’s transformation from indie bedroom pop artist to full on emotional grunge rocker is complete, if you’ve been watching Bea for a while now it’ll feel as if she’s finally turned super saiyan, I mean she has the blonde hair now so maybe. But I’m getting ahead of myself, this isn’t someone who’s changed randomly, the natural progression of Beabadoobee’s musical career is just her finding her true self sonically, she’s perfected her craft and the album is one hell of a bang to showcase that. 

Fake It Flowers is a river of 90s grunge majesty, but with slick modern production. I hear the term ‘bubblegrunge’ when referring to Beabadoobee’s material and it’s a pretty solid umbrella term I think we can all get down with, but 20 year old rock star goes down a treat just the same. Bea manages to gather an audience of listeners from so many different genres, from kids who adore the bedroom pop-rock sound to adults who can’t get enough of the modern grunge sound people haven’t really heard much of really since the 90s ended, but her fans come together and bathe in the tranquility of the tracks pinned down by Bea and her band. 

The album kicks off with lead single Care, a classically cutesy Beabadoobee verse that then quickly builds up to a monster of a chorus that begs you to head bang and dance around your room. A perfect opener that shows off the sombre guitars and beautiful melodies we’ve known to love, and then to turn that idea on it’s head and shove the heavier guitars and make the rocker chick really resonate with you, especially with the lyrical complexities of the track, and over the whole album. Care takes us straight into the absolute anthem that is Worth It that just makes you crave to be in a mosh pit again belting out to the bonafide deal of a Beabadoobee show. 

Dye It Red is another stomper to make you punch the air, where the sound of the album really makes itself present, the drums that bang around your brain complimenting the guitars so well, but interwoven with the glorious bass that together ground you whilst the shoegaze-like guitars wisp you away. The production is consistent and absolutely mental, the way tracks such as Worth It, Dye It Red and Together just pop out, it’s almost as if you can feel each instrument around you. Dye It Red (like most Beabadoobee songs) lyrically is on another level, magnificent melodies disguise the deeper lyrics upon first listens, and on a further inspection you hear fragments of Bea’s life. “Fuck me when I’m keen, not according to your beer”, a glimpse into the everyday objectifying of women, especially when it comes men under the influence of alcohol. “Let me cut my hair and dye it red if I want to, I haven’t felt myself so comfortable, I’m not stopping now” A poetically personal but genuine message that people, especially young girls should do what they want, for themselves that makes them feel comfortable. 

Charlie Brown confronts past struggles with self harm, the line “throw it away” in the chorus repeated is a real heart wrencher that hits in so many ways, be it referring to the struggles we deal with, or the literal tools we have to our hand. Bea stated in an interview that Charlie Brown was her first window into understanding mental health, so naturally it’s a bound link for her. Mental health in young people today has never been more crucial and if you are struggling, never be ashamed to reach out for help. No day, person or life is perfect and the sooner we as a society openly accept that, the sooner the stigma of talking about mental struggles can become normalised and more people can get the help they need. 

Emo Song talks about the effects that manipulative past relationships can have and hold onto you even far after those relationships have ended. With ambient sounds kicking off this track, with quieter dynamics compared to previous tracks on the album, it really helps hone in the vulnerability and sensitive state you can be left in after an experience like that, matched with the lyrics “I lost myself in cosmic dust”, “You’re coming back again/I don’t want you back again” and “Just the thought of you doesn’t stop, you’re not a person or a thing, just the thought of you on my limbs, it’s all your fault/It’s all your fault” really shatter your nerves in a way that can only be applauded to Beabadoobee but maybe a hug to her and whoever can relate. Sorry follows up the quieter dynamics from Emo Song but pushes it with strings that just blend every part of this track together. 

Further Away blissfully takes the quieter sounds of the previous two tracks but manages to become a sort of lullaby but again the actual nature of the song completely contradicts the sleepy sounds and melody that gently puts it’s arm over your shoulder as a masquerade for the twists of the lyrics of the song. Horen Sarrison takes what you’ve just heard but being a love song about Bea’s boyfriend and longtime creative collaborator Soren Harrison, really is the arm on your shoulder you almost need after the real rollercoaster that has been the emotional tones of Fake It Flowers, but all the same showing that vulnerable side to Bea. “Eyes so green, I don’t know what that means, but you make me feel like all this is real/But I don’t want you to feel comfortable, and I want you to know that I’m in love” patched with “You are the song that I need for my mental state, you are the bus that stayed when I thought I was late, so I’m convinced you’re from outer space”. All in all you really get a sense of the wanderlust and emotion between the potent pairing which is really quite beautiful to gauge an understanding of.

Together takes us back to the energy from the start of the album, with pretty intense Smashing Pumpkins and Pavement vibes that really come together (no pun intended) under the influence of Bea’s voice, melodies that enter the third dimension during the chorus that makes your chest tighten up and mouth grin with glee. 

The album closes with Yoshimi, Forest, Magdalene, a song that manages to combine the dreamy soundscapes from the likes of Sorry and Further Away, with the noise and exclamations of Together and Worth It, all whilst starting with Bea saying the vocals sound like a fart? Absolute insanity, and the even more crazy part? It kinda works and just adds to the tonality of the entire song, and after the adventure that is the experience of Fake It Flowers, the playful intro is quite a satisfying start to the song and end of the album. Lyrically Bea talks about the love of her life and how she knows what her kids names are going to be, being Yoshimi, Forest and Magdalene. Which if you didn’t quite catch there, you’ll be pleased to know there’s quite a few reminders of that throughout the song. It’s a fun more uplifting song that still captures the softer side of Bea in the verses but manages to stay fun in the typical Beabadoobee manner. 

The level of music within this album completely outshines previous work, the production by Joseph Rodgers who’s work has been on Beabadoobee’s prior work as well as with The Kooks, Graham Coxon and Liam Gallagher. As well as Pete Robertson producer and former drummer of the incredible band The Vaccines. Together they’ve managed to help mould Bea’s sound and create something breathtaking that just makes you wanna sit back and admire in awe before the beat of the songs convince you to get up and dance. Bea’s band are also phenomenal on the album, nothing feels like filler, every instrument has a reason for being there and playing what they play. Drummer Louis Semlekan-Faith really get to flaunt his talent throughout the album, especially on tracks such as Worth It and Sorry. Lead guitarist Jacob Bugden adds some firey licks all over the record, the riffs in Care and Dye It Red, as well as playing almost countermelodies to Bea’s vocals and bringing out another dimension to the world that is Fake It Flowers. And wrapping it all together is the chick who plays Bass, Eliana Sewell. Who’s playing just completely sticks out and almost becomes a part of the percussion at times, intricate Bass lines that just go straight to your head and carry the song like the foundations of a building. And all of this is snuggly embedded within the mind of Beatrice Laus to create a wonderful band experience and listening escapade. This was an album where a lot of love and care was put into it, a lot of raw emotion and quite obviously, a lot of fun making too. 

Fake It Flowers is an LP for the young adults of today (especially young women), the intimate and internal struggles we go through, soundtracked to your favourite 90s films. It’s a record that is just so brilliantly constructed from start to finish, that explores such heavy topics, all whilst staying such a wonderfully quirky collection of songs. A stoner rock lullaby, that keeps you slow dancing till the early hours of the morning, but on loud will definitely keep up your parents and neighbours, and give you the adrenaline rush needed to boost your mentality to get you through whatever else this year has to throw at us. 

Categories
Indie/Indie Rock Punk/Rock Why We Love

Why We Love: Courtney Barnett

With albums like IDLES ‘Ultra Mono’ and so many other spectacular artists from the same vain currently dominating the UK charts, it’s safe to say we could be on the very edge of a new era for music and the true revival period for 80’s grunge. If hearing this makes you jump for joy, then the songs of guitarist Courtney Barnett from Melbourn are certainly ‘must-haves’ on your playlists.

After first hitting big on the underground rock scene in 2012 with her self released EP, ‘I’ve Got a Friend Called Emily Ferris’, Courtney Barnett has since grown to become one of the most talked-about rising modern rock stars of today. After two studio albums and a host of incredible singles, Courtney has earnt phenomenal praise and worldwide recognition for her garage rock sound and muddy ’90s style. This is an artist who certainly never disappoints and a woman who truly embodies the spirit of ’90s MTV Nostalgia – talented AF, cool as hell, she might just be the Kurt Cobain of her generation.

Home-made and humorous, not only does Courtney Barnett produce smashing tune after smashing tune, she continues to amaze us with her terrific funny music videos.

Along with her neutral wit and creative humour, Courtney has brought something we love about music back to the world; a feeling on authenticity, high-school DIY band vibes and a persona inspired by her classic rock influences. Commonly pictured with a Fender guitar around her, the attributes of Barnett’s grunge pioneer predecessors Johnny Marr, John Squire and Thurston Moore are not lost on this extraordinary talent.



Her early experience in music as a guitarist in several garage and psych-country bands still shines through in her music today, both in the melodies and production of her songs and through the southern twang in her slumberous vocal style.

Old school and modern at the same time, one of her more recent tunes ‘Nameless, Faceless’ from her 2018 album ‘Tell Me How You Really Feel’, along with the songs animated video, is very much in the spirit of ’90s MTV and also reminds us of Franz Ferdinand’s ‘Take Me Out’ music video from 2004.

Since the release of her last single ‘Everybody Here Hates You’ in 2019, Courtney has been quiet about any new material she may be working on since Woodstock 50 festival had to be cancelled at the start of the year, but we have seen a great cover of Kev Carmondy’s ‘Just for you’ as well as many great new songs emerging from artists signed to her self-founded record label, Milk! Records.



Courtney has been known to collaborate frequently with other artists, this week she appeared in Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy’s creative lockdown music video for his new single ‘Gwendolyn.’

We’re dead excited to hear Courtney Barnett come blasting back onto the scene with new material soon, but for now at least we can rest assured that artists like Courtney exist in the world. We can sleep easy knowing that grunge is not truly dead.

Courtney Barnett is on tour in the UK with Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds from April 13th. Get your tickets here.

Listen to Courtney Barnett’s most recent single Everybody Here Hates You on YouTube and Spotify now.