If I had to pick one word to describe Bloom, the second album from Atlanta based band Separations, that word would be aggressive. I admit, I had not heard of this band until very recently, and came upon Bloom with no preconceptions. From the simple album art, consisting of the title in colorful letters over a white background, I expected something in the vein of shoegaze. I was very wrong. The first track, “Hollow”, was like having my door kicked in as it builds for only a few moments into an explosion of drums, and a bass heavy riff. The album is nothing short of explosive. While the melodic breakdowns begin to balance it out, a little more breathing room in the music would be a huge benefit to the overall album, like a cool down lap after a long sprint.
Lyrically, Bloom gives of a sense of introspection. The lyrics feel meaningful in a way that is often rare in genre. On Imagen Record’s website, lead singer Will Crafton describes the intimate nature of the writing, saying:
“We lost a lot during the writing process this time. However, we got back up and were able to salvage the pieces. We took what we learned, and we put it to music. Bloom is all about how even in the most treacherous climates and terrible life conditions, something beautiful can grow”
The personal quality of the lyrics shine through particularly well in the title track, “Bloom”. “We can bloom again,” is the mantra of this song, repeating throughout the chorus, and ringing out as the final words of this single, bringing home the band’s theme of personal growth, and rediscovery.
Bloom pays a lot of attention to the mix. Each instrument cuts through the overall overdrive, blending together for a very clean cut, aggressive sound. The low ends are impressively up front, giving the tracks a lot of bass. The occasional sampling, such as on Brother, was a surprise. This level of post production seems to be becoming the staple of hardcore bands, particularly those associated with Warped Tour. It makes one think back to early 2000’s alt rock like Trapt. Personally, I prefer a more low-fi approach, especially in punk, but for Separations, the more intensive post-production works.
The band is rhythmically on point. David Richey’s drumming lays a rock solid foundation, and alongside the consistent bass lines of Brenden Worthington, skillfully accent the rest of the band’s work. This coordination stood out to me throughout the album. When listening to Separations, it is easy to see that this is a group of people that are very comfortable together as a unit. I’m a sucker for syncopated riffs, and Separations had the tightness to deliver.
Admittedly, the newer additions to the Hardcore genre are not my cup of tea. That being said, Bloom by Separations is a fun album. The aggressive tone combined with the technical skill of the musicians makes for a solid album. The highlights of the album were the attention to production quality, and David Richey’s fantastic drumming. I look forward to seeing this band continue to bloom, and will be catching a show next time they are in Nashville.