During these funny old times, whilst y’all have been learning to play the clarinet and bake brioche, some of us having been using our time constructively to obsessively fawn over new music. I am rather excited to bring to your attention, Blóm. Hailing from the sunny streets of Newcastle, noise punk trio, Blóm’s new debut EP, Flower Violence, is a high-octane, visceral assault on the senses.
Flower Violence kicks off with Audrey; a bouncing, swinging ride with regular shifts in gears and pace but never pulling its punches. Audrey’s tone is initially agitated, almost threatening, but like all songs on the record, it builds and evolves. Blóm tend to dismiss traditional verse-chorus cycle, and instead, progressively engaging guitar lines and hooks are added throughout, morphing the song’s dynamic as they go. These unpredictable structures and instrumentations are fun and prevent anything becoming familiar.
Lyrically, Audrey is a collection of references and quotations from Twin Peak’s wonderfully mischievous Audrey Horne. The album’s lyrics are fairly diverse, focusing on topics including gender- identity, queerness, feminism, and Christianity.
Meat opens with a quality 16bit melody before opening fire with a full throttle punk-rock assault, with impressively quick, carpet bombing percussion and racing guitar. This track proper ramps up the heaviness from the opening Audrey, and the band now have even the most passive of listeners fully engaged After just over a minute, the track breaks down into a classic, tough hardcore riff, which very much appeals to my personal taste. The record is filled with these beautiful little treats for fans of hardcore. Another great example is God, which starts with an insanely infectious opening guitar hook, that’s followed by a tight pounding rhythm section, wherein the bass and drums sit in a close scrum and pack a wallop. Meanwhile, the quick firing vocal delivery is immediate and authoritative.
Flower Violence’s production is classically lo-fi, with guitars and percussion turned up just high enough that Hells has to fight for her place up there on the chaotic sonic field. It’s a fantastic sound, in the vein of CACAW, giving the feel of a live performance in a tiny but rowdy hall.
Experimental and noise-punk genres can so often be so saturated with sounds that are intentionally difficult, abrasive and chaotic, making an almost grating sonic environment for the listener. Blóm, however, despite its wildness is entirely accessible. This is not to say there is not improvisation and experimentation evident in the arty guitar licks and sudden bursts of energy, but there’s also control. Between the high squeals of distortion that connect each song, there are intelligently written tracks with an agenda and purpose. It is not innovation that make Blóm sparkle, but rather the conviction and energy that they bring to the songs. What ultimately stands clear is the passion. And not unlike my old Grandad, god love him, the music is firm but fair and despite a constant display of stern aggression, it never loses its sense of fun.
Despite the passionate and all-consuming single, Be Kind being a high point, my personal favourite here is Ubermensch. Starting out with a slow, drawn out bass riff, which seems to get heavier and more regular with time, the first half of the song feels like something from an old youth crew band, encouraging you to expect a break wherein all hell breaks loose. Instead, vocalist, Hells, marches alongside the steady, heavy rhythm, assertively reciting her mantra.
Flower Violence is music to stick to floors to in dingy rock clubs and live crowds. This is music to be played loud. If you have any interest in passionate, primal music, if you are a fan of Pre, Melt Banana or Picasso Trigger, or if you are simply bored and want to buy a record, buy the fucking album.
Words by Mike Hull