REVIEW: Bloom – ‘Thousand Yard Stare’

Bloom Cover

Artist: Bloom
Album: Thousand Yard Stare
Genre: Indie/Emo
Label: Broken Circles Records

Contrary to popular belief, Nashville’s general population of musicians is not strictly limited to singer-songwriters and guitar-toting country acts– it truly is a city that lives and breathes in musical diversity. Among all of that is a flourishing punk scene that has been finding its way into the public eye, with bands like Daisyhead and Better Off, who have gone on to sign to nationally recognized labels such as No Sleep and 6131, respectively.

And that brings us to Bloom, who have now released their full-length debut, Thousand Yard Stare, through Broken Circles Records. The band – which is actually a side-project of Better Off frontman Luke Granered – rely heavily on reflective hooks delivered over thick, guitar-driven tracks to define their sound. Instead of being a B-side outlet for Granered’s efforts, Bloom resides more on the hushed and relaxed side of the emo spectrum, in comparison to BO’s melodic and fast-paced sound.

So what if I said the “e-word,” which will likely raise a lot of pointless presuppositions and questions as “are they actually emo”? Or better yet “are they just another group of wannabes hopping onto a trend”? To that, I’ll let the album (and this review) speak for itself.

Thousand Yard Stare starts off with the short opener “2 AM Breakfast,” which consists of Granered’s layered, reverb-laden vocals over typical diner sounds. While that might seem like a bizarre combination, the more you think about it, it couldn’t be more suitable: In the same sense of having a deep conversation over something as plain and simple as bacon and eggs at a Denny’s, this first track sets the tone for the album in the midst of a loud background.

In the most interesting way, the album is full of all of these lush instrumentals that – at their core – remain to be rather simple. There aren’t much musical chops to be shown here, but this is simply the nature of the genre. One place on the record where this is most noticeable would be “Dorm Room,” which starts off in a rather minimalistic manner with guitar and drums, before keys, synth lines, and bells join in on the action.

“Lung Cancer” puts a perfect ending to the album’s a-side, seeing as how it builds up to a climax for the first half and then is slowly laid off for the entirety of the second half using drawn-out strings and pounded drums, the track works within itself and as a part of an even greater whole. Right up behind it comes “Salt Lake City,” a track that starts the record’s b-side by borrowing nearly the same formula from “2 AM Breakfast,” save for the fact that the song is much longer and with more background conversation than noises.

There’s no hiding the fact that the second half of the album takes on a melancholic look at the many negatives of life (see: “Still” and the album’s title track) but at the end of that lies a resolving and almost rewarding feeling of self-awareness (“Losers”). That, in and of itself, sticks the landing of the record in a way that could prompt subsequent repeat listens to catch the full effect.

All in all, Thousand Yard Stare is much more than “promising.” With all that it has going for it, it’s hard to believe that something of this quality could just come so unexpectedly from a band that’s been around for a little over a year. This surely won’t be the last we’ve heard from this Nashville group.

SCORE: 8.5/10
Review written by Adrian Garza – (Follow him on Twitter)

You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.