Label: Dirty Hit
Released: 16th October 2020
You don’t have to have lived it to love it. Whatever those tutting gatekeepers of indie past try to say, the cold hard truth is everything that came before is only there to be raided by each new generation. The true spirit of alternative culture will always be at its most pure in the youthful enthusiasm of those discovering a world beneath the mainstream for the first time.
Though only born in the year 2000, beabadoobee has more than earned her stripes in amongst the racks of vinyl and handwritten sleeve notes where entrance exams are sat. The brooding, 90s rasp that runs deep and true through her debut album may cause some to roll their eyes, but there’s absolutely nothing paper-thin about ‘Fake It Flowers’.
Instead, it’s a record confident in its own vintage worn skin. A wonderful juxtaposition of borrowed, gig-worn retromania and lemony-fresh excitement, it’s pitch perfect in its influence, not once sounding tired or dated. The development from bedroom pop sensation to bubblegrunge icon suits Bea to the ground. From opener ‘Care’ onwards, that ear for a melodic, glistening hook sits perfectly with the rough and ready world of loud-quiet-loud distortion that often sits beneath.
‘Fake It Flowers’ – in truth – couldn’t be more authentic. Throughout its twelve tracks, it hits every emotional reference point a young adult could experience. There’s the snotty, sweary stand of ‘Dye it Red’ – complete with its ready expression or emotion through hair colouring – while ‘Sorry’ has a brooding darkness within. It’s two tracks with real teeth that actually stand out, though. Both ‘Charlie Brown’ and ‘Together’ possess a sense of muscular confidence that recall label mates Wolf Alice at their fearsome best. It’s a passing comparison, but as Bea’s vocals break and fight with crashing guitars, effortlessly layering upon themselves, the bleeding edge shows the true potential of what could come next.
Though sitting ‘Fake It Flowers’ alongside those great 90s indie records that laid the foundations for so much of what follows may seem both premature and slightly hyperbolic, it’s also a comparison that would only be made by those who this album renders entirely irrelevant. 2020 has been hard enough as it is without Old Man Indie setting authenticity quotas 20-year-old wonderkids could never meet. It’s a time for reckless abandon and new possibilities. Grounded in the past but flying towards a braver future, this isn’t for you, Granddad. The kids are alright.