Label: Ultimate Blends
Released: 18th June 2021
Max Bloom is back with his second full-length as a solo artist, ‘Pedestrian’. The album unfurls like an urban butterfly, combining gossamer weightlessness with rainy skies and a nine to five outlook. It’s very British balladry, melding Britpop inflexions with distorted guitars and shimmering, far-reaching synths.
Dealing with the grey suburban scenes Max was confronted with on his lockdown runs through London, he refutes the austere image that this might conjure, transforming it instead with soaring, schoolboy vocals and plaintive lyricism. Even in the album’s darker moments, there’s a buoyancy to the gloom, like the near-magical tone that the keyboards take on alongside the bitter buzz of the lyric “I hate myself” in ‘Imposter Syndrome’.
From the retro sweetness of ‘How Can I Love You’, rich and warm like burnt orange, to the lavish instrumentals of ‘Twenty Two’, the record swirls nineties and noughties influences together. The weary, matter-of-fact tone of the album belies its youthful innocence, a champagne sweetness sparkling behind the drab exterior.
It’s perfectly rounded off by the open road bliss of ‘Cat On Your Lap’, a track that reimagines damp as dew, configuring suburbia in a fresh new light, like cold clear dawn. It has the comfort of an advert soundtrack and the bloom that befits his name, redolent of the slow move from winter to spring.
Fans of Max’s previous output as part of indie outfit Yuck will relish his return, and no doubt this new collection of reserved lullabies will garner many more. Having recorded all the instruments on the album himself, ‘Pedestrian’ marks something that is wholly his own, and certainly something to be proud of.