Released: 8th July 2022
With her debut album, ‘Fake It Flowers’, it was pretty easy to work out what beabadoobee was going for. Grungy, scuzzy radio alt-rock, it was an album packed with the kind of songs that are easy to love and immediate to take hold. But underneath all that was something more – a feeling that, actually, Bea’s musical songbook might eventually be a wilder, more diverse, expansive place.
Step forward ‘Beatopia’. Named after an imaginary world she cooked up aged seven, her second full-length is the realisation of all that promise, tied up in one conceptual package. While working as a cohesive whole, there’s a rainbow of different influences and styles on show. Firmly anchored in the alternative landscape of the 90s and early 00s, there’s the dreamy, woozy indie-rock of ‘10:36’, self-descriptive delight on ‘Sunny Day’ and sweeping strings on ‘Ripples’. ‘Broken CD’ shimmers with a delicate touch, while first single ‘Talk’ perfects the blueprint of that first album. Stand-out ‘Pictures of Us’ even manages to find space for a relaxed, atmospheric, ever so slightly math rock-style guitar line, weaving an intricate trail around a refrain that might well be the most subtle earworm of the year so far.
Proof if proof was needed that even a well-received debut album doesn’t need to define an act, ‘Beatopia’ marks beabadoobee as an artist able to set her own terms. Inventive, playful and, at times, truly magical, it might be an imaginary world, but it’s one that everyone should pay a visit.