Second album from Gen Z icon Beatrice Laus sees her still experimenting to find her voice but her talent and charm ultimately shines through
The first album from Beatrice Laus (otherwise known as Beabadoobee), Fake It Flowers, was very much a snapshot of the artist at a particular time. Collecting songs that she had written as a teenager, they were loud, often angry and heavily influenced by 90s alt-rock (there was even a self-explanatory title of Emo Song, while one of her early singles was, after all, called I Wish I Was Stephen Malkmus).
Two years on, and it’s a rather different Beabadoobee sound which is showcased on Beatopia. Sometimes it’s summery and upbeat, while at other times it almost explodes out of the speakers with noise. It may not be as immediate as Fake It Flowers, and it certainly takes a bit of time for the subtler songs to sink in, but it shows a far greater range than some of her detractors would have suggested.
There are also some nods to The 1975, which isn’t so surprising with both Matty Healy and George Daniel making guest appearances. The opening Beatopia Cultsong is a spacey, drowsy number reminiscent of 1975’s album interludes, while the laid back Pictures Of Us features a Healy songwriting credit.
10:36 is a rousing, fuzzy kiss-off to a former lover, who she was only with as she needed someone to sleep next to (“you’re just a warm body to hold at night when I’m feeling all alone”), while Talk is a similar throw back to her earlier material – full of scuzzy guitar riffs, with Laus’ vocals buried deep in the mix.
It’s the exploration of new musical territories that are more intriguing though. The Perfect Pair employs a smooth bossa-nova melody for a deceptively upbeat break-up song, while Ripples adds a string section into the mix to a delicate heartbreaking ballad. There are certainly more moments on Beatopia to wallow in rather than dance to, and these are two of the best examples of that.
Sometimes it all gets a bit too cosy, in all honesty. Lovesong is a cutesy acoustic ballad in the mould of Maisie Peters, which seems a bit of a comedown after the fuzzy euphoria of Talk, which precedes it. And, at 14 tracks long, there’s a couple too many tracks that seem to be scrambling around for a personality, which means that there are some periods of the record which become a bit of a slog.
However, Laus’s talent and charm shines through, especially on the strong way the album closes – the quiet/loud/quiet rush of Don’t Get The Deal, which is followed by the lovely, lilting collaboration with PinkPantheress, Tinkerbell Is Overated. Then, the acoustic You’re Here, That’s The Thing, with a winking lyric of “I don’t think that’s legal in the state of California” closes the album on a delightful note.
Beatopia is an album which shows Beabadoobee still experimenting to find her voice – that doesn’t make it a bad album, rather a slightly uneven one. There are enough moments, such as the gently soaring See You Soon, which hint that she’s due to break out of her cult status and become a major star sooner rather than later.