Articles tagged with Great Bloomers

Great Bloomers spread out the awesomeness

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“Catching Up,” the lead track off of Great Bloomers’ 2007 EP, set an impossible precedent. As I wrote last week, the song is a jaw-dropping knockout, both infectiously catchy and heartbreakingly nostalgic, swelling from a solemn ballad to an upbeat rocker. It hardly mattered how good the rest of the EP’s songs were—they were all eclipsed by the opening track. Speak of Trouble, Great Bloomers first full length, contains no songs that top “Catching Up’—but maybe that’s not such a bad thing. The moments of brilliance are more evenly spread this time around, and every one of the eleven songs contributes to the album’s overall effect.

Stylistically, Great Bloomers haven’t changed much. Their sound is still based around the piano and voice of frontman Lowell Sostomi, varying between hooky pop (“Daylight”) and stomping roots rock (the twang-y “Honey Blanket”). As with most piano pop outfits, it’s tempting to compare the group to Ben Folds Five, especially on the shapeshifting title track, which begins with chirpy saloon piano before morphing into waltz-time doo wop, eventually breaking out into an upbeat folk rock bounce. But unlike the ever-ironic Ben Folds, who sings with his tongue firmly planted in-cheek, Great Bloomers are unwaveringly sincere. “Fever Days” is seeped in the same misty-eyed nostalgia that made “Catching Up” so unforgettable, as Sostomi plaintively sings “I miss everything I’ve seen.”

In keeping with the band’s earnestness, the production on Speak of Trouble is clean and never distracting, resting the full emphasis on the songs themselves. The piano is typically placed high in the mix, although it occasionally takes a backseat to overdriven guitars. The breezy, guitar-led groove of “Young Ones Slept” gives way to start-stop breaks, punctuated by distorted guitar riffs and rolling drum fills. It manages to be catchy without resorting to a dumb, obvious chorus, and its outro of “Bury the hatchet in our own back yard” is one of the album’s most indelible hooks. It’s the kind of song that might have been overlooked on the band’s EP—but without “Catching Up” to steal its thunder, it stands out as one of the highlights on one of the year’s best pop/rock albums.

mp3: “The Young Ones Slept

Speak of Trouble is out now via MapleMusic.
 
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Getting caught up

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Toronto roots rockers Great Bloomers recently released their debut full-length, Speak of Trouble. It’s an excellent album that I’ll be talking about soon, but in the meantime, I’ve become completely obsessed the song “Catching Up” (from the group’s 2007 self-titled EP). Since I’ve spent the past two days listening to almost nothing else, I feel I owe the song it’s due recognition.

I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch of call “Catching Up” one of the best songs of the past few years. It’s a sweeping piano pop epic, beginning as an aching ballad before suddenly transforming two minutes in, breaking out into an upbeat rock groove that recalls Broken Social Scene at its most straight-forward. It’s an infectious arrangement, but it’s really the lyrics that make the song so memorable. Frontman Lowell Sostomi directly addresses an old friend, asking “Has it been a year or has it been three?” It’s the kind of story that almost anyone can instantly relate to, but it also comes across as deeply personal, thanks to its detail-rich imagery (“We used to build fires in our back yards / And hike through the forest when the mud got hard”). Sostomi’s voice is deep and double-tracked, and his deadpan vocals provide the perfect counterpoint for the lyrics, preventing the song from ever sounding syrupy or manipulatively sentimental.

mp3: “Catching Up”
 
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