Fake It Flowers - beabadoobee
The enormous breakout potential of Bea Laus' bedroom rock can be heard in bursts on her uneven, endearing debut for Dirty Hit.
It's been whirlwind few years for Beatrice Laus. The Filipino- born British songwriter has gone from quietly crafting her very literal brand of bedroom pop/rock and sharing it amongst friends and social media, to supporting world tours with The 1975 and hearing her earliest composition explode on mainstream radio whilst topping the US Billboard Rock chart, clocking up over 4 billion streams in the month of March alone.
Prior to the success of Powfu's memorable sample for 'death bed', beabadoobee was already building up something of a cult following with the release of four EPs for Dirty Hit between February 2018 and October 2019, each of which displayed the twenty year old's natural gift for penning grungy lo-fi guitar jams in the vein of self professed idols like Pavement and Daniel Johnston. On Fake It Flowers, Bea retains the lo-fi sensibilities and grunge influence of her early work while stepping up production values and introducing a brighter, more polished aesthetic on a teasing debut.
This newly sharpened sound is introduced on a fantastic opening combo of 'Care' and 'Worth It', as Bea kicks off with her two most infectious singles to date, deftly blending her penchant for 90s lo-fi throwback vibes and slacker guitar work with the kind of anthemic singalong choruses that just beg for a live crowd. The playful, Pixies-eque mix of soft-loud dynamics is a twist utilized to perfection across the album in its best moments, with 'Charlie Brown' and 'Together' also making for captivating single material and providing an exciting glimpse into what radio rock should sound like in the 20s. These kind of undeniable earworms are aplenty on Fake It Flowers and will stay in your head long after initial listens in the best way possible.
Admittedly, Laus is developing as a songwriter and there are some niggling signs that she is still most comfortable on short form releases, with the likes of 'Back to Mars' and 'Further Away' pushing filler territory. Perhaps the inclusion of this lighter fare can be put down to fattening up Fake It Flowers for a full length album release, but you feel this kind of harmless fodder will drop off when Bea finds more consistency on future releases as her natural talent and songcraft evolves.
Overall, Fake It Flowers is a more than solid first full step into the mainstream for its young artist. The enormous breakout potential of Bea is plain to hear on these twelve tracks, and what's more exciting besides is the knowledge that Laus is still very much growing, and some way off her final form. Fake It Flowers sounds like a learning process in some parts, but it's a hell of a lot of fun along the way.
Laus joked in a recent interview about wanting to change her name after breaking out, quipping that she was jealous of bands like Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr. - "such cool names, look great on a T-shirt... And I’m fucking beabadoobee". Yet the fact that we're still calling her by a throwaway Instagram moniker is perfectly fitting for the sound of these hazy stoner tales from the Millennial teenage experience. If the promise of Fake It Flowers is anything to go by, then Bea won't be wishing she was Stephen Malkmus for much longer - this is the sound of a fresh young rockstar blazing herself a trail, and who would want her to change a thing? She's fucking beabadoobee.
7.0 / B-
Best Tracks: 'Care'/'Worth It'/'Charlie Brown'/'Together'
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