Every Tuesday, Torontoist scours record store shelves in search of the city’s most notable new releases and brings you the best—or sometimes just the biggest—of what we’ve heard in Sound Advice.
A couple of years and handfuls of shows can do wonders for a band with the potential that the Great Bloomers were oozing when Torontoist first saw them fill a sweaty Drake basement more than a year ago. Today, the Great Bloomers release their full-length debut, Speak of Trouble, on MapleMusic. A continuation of the danceable indie roots-rock from their self-titled 2007 EP, Speak of Trouble demonstrates a marked musical maturation and an embracing of eras past, complete with narrative lyrical recollections of youthful hope and exploits and an already-classic sound reminiscent of warm AM radio textures.
The modest production value (co-courtesy of co-producer Gavin Gardiner, mega-talented frontman of The Wooden Sky) can mistakenly cause some parts to sound a little thin, but a second (and third, and fourth, you get the idea) listen brings out Ty Rowles’ tight Motown-pop basslines, and the consistently rhythmic piano tinkling of rotating drummers/pianists Andrew Kekewich and Shawn Dell, adding some welcome ragtime fun to the overall psych-country-pop. Not unlike another one of Canada’s songwriting treasures, Halifax’s Joel Plaskett, the Bloomers hide some of their best moments (in writing and in performance) after their mid-song transitions; they’ve always followed this format well, and this time around they perfect it on the album’s title track; a honky-tonk party track turned doo-wop ballad turned soulful indie rock singalong, anchored by vocalist Lowell Sostomi’s distinct, plaintive drawl (which itself is bolstered time and time again by layers of harmonies, usually simple, always gorgeous). Even at their most upbeat, the Bloomers demonstrate an inherent softness, and though often propelled by rhythm over melody, their energy never borders on harsh. These songs will no doubt find their true depth on stage where the Bloomers shine with an authentic presence hard to fully capture on record.
It isn’t easy for a young band to pull off an homage to a style far before their time without sounding too inexperienced or too indulgent, but Great Bloomers do it and in the process create an original collection of songs that make a—gasp!—complete, start-to-finish album, choosing to build a career out of the ever-fickle Friday night following. These lads will undoubtedly pack the Horseshoe for their CD release show on May 2, with a little help from fellow scene favourites Modernboys Moderngirls, Sports: the Band (represent!), and the aforementioned Gavin Gardiner (sans band).