For those of you who might be getting on a bit, who checked out of pop music back when singers were still wearing low-cut jeans, it might be somewhat reassuring to know that the Dido route to stardom is still viable. Beabadoobee’s profile has risen considerably ever since her song Coffee was sampled for Powfu’s Death Bed, which became a Top 5 hit in May, and her debut album is well placed to capitalise on this attention.
The first thing to note about Fake It Flowers is that it’s very American: the pop-punk stylings of Avril Lavigne are interspersed with various influences from ’90s alt-rock such as shoegaze, post-grunge and introspective singer-songwriter material. Dye It Red neatly encapsulates this mix with its expression of self-love and spiky lyrics (“Kiss my ass, you don’t know jack / and if you say you understand, you don’t / you don’t, you don’t, you don’t”) over watery guitar chords and a mid-tempo rock groove.
The production is top quality throughout, with instrumentation that can be punchy, hazy and elegant in equal measure, and Beabadoobee’s songwriting veers from moody detachment to intense sincerity with ease. The latter is conveyed powerfully on Yoshimi, Forest, Magdalene, in which the putative names of her children with the man of her dreams are repeated, mantra-like, as if they will be conceived through willpower alone.
Some more ornate elements are introduced on the dreamy Horen Sarrison, a pretty string arrangement to match the Iris-style metre and blissful chord sequence, while How Was Your Day? strips things right back to a guitar and a voice, a charmingly lo-fi recording with subtle echoey effects in the background.
Fake It Flowers is a very well-accomplished debut, featuring a consistent, enjoyable style, a fully-formed persona and catchy tunes which speak to the head and heart.