beabadoobee: Fake It Flowers (Dirty Hit) - review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Thursday, November 26th, 2020  

beabadoobee

Fake It Flowers

Dirty Hit

Oct 19, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


The rise of beabadoobee (real name Beatrice Laus and also known as Bea Kristi) is a typically odd story of Gen Z stardom. As a teenager in northwest London, she took to music with a DIY spirit, teaching herself to play guitar via YouTube tutorials and writing short, emotionally bare indie rock songs from her bedroom. Those rough recordings ended up attracting thousands of listeners and the attention of the British label Dirty Hit (home to UK indie giants The 1975 and Wolf Alice). But it wasn’t until Canadian rapper Powfu borrowed the chorus of her first single “Coffee” for his sad-rap TikTok hit “Death Bed” that her name was powered into the minds of millions of Zoomers across the world.

Although Kristi had no hand in that song’s creation, its success has meant her debut, Fake It Flowers, arrives with heightened expectations. The early beabadoobee EPs positioned her as an outsider who dreamed of emulating indie rock idols of the past. Her full-length debut comes with all the slick trappings of an industry insider, harking back to the ’90s rock boom when indie artists were given license to roam free in expensive studios.  

Kristi uses these newfound resources to add some new elements to her take on ’90s rock—most notably with a gorgeous string arrangement on “Horen Sarrison,” which could have been borrowed from a Smashing Pumpkins record. More often, she uses them to enhance the sound she mastered on her EPs. The record’s opening trio of songs distills what makes beabadoobee’s music so charming. These are warm and generously accessible rock songs that balance sugary hooks with crunching guitar riffs. 

The sweet youthful tone of Kristi’s voice lends itself to teenage dreams and these songs rarely stray from stories of adolescent love affairs and anxieties. On “Dye It Red,” she pledges to color her hair as an act of defiance against a controlling partner, while on the breathless “Worth It,” she weighs up the risks of pursuing a potentially toxic relationship (“Don't think we can be friends/Because you’re too pretty,” she sings). Yet, beabadoobee also knows when to add a little acid into the mix. The harsh grungy “Charlie Brown” touches on self-harm as Kristi forces her voice into an abrasive wail. Later, on the album’s deceptively funny closer, she worries that her partner is going to leave her (“Cause when I’m mad, I get pretty scary”) before ending the song by screaming her planned names for their three children —“Yoshimi, Forest, Magdalene.”  

Beabadoobee follows in the footsteps of a wave of female artists who have mined ’90s rock in recent years (see: Soccer Mommy, Snail Mail, and Clairo) but Fake It Flowers plays out on a grander scale to her predecessors. This is music built for main stages and mainstream radio. The fact that Kristi has managed to keep the warmth and wit from her earlier releases while expanding her sound may be this album’s greatest feat. It will be many months before she is able to take these songs to major venues but on this impressive debut she’s proved that she deserves to be there. (www.beabadoobee.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10



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