Golden Bloom is the brainchild of singer/songwriter Shawn Fogel, an unusually gifted artist ready to blossom in the pop rock garden. “Fan The Flames” is a remarkably good full-length debut from start to finish.
“Fan The Flames” is half sunny and half cloudy, fitting to the lyrical content, which drifts between half-full and half-empty perspectives that address modern societal concerns. Armed with humility and wit, Fogel tackles the issues in an entertaining fashion, while leaving a lasting impression with his memorable melodies. The upbeat tracks are particularly strong, especially the emphasis track “Doomsday Devices”, which just screams ‘hit single’. However, my mind wandered during some of his ballads, which can get a little monotonous. Notable exceptions to this include the gorgeous “She Leaves Me Poetry” and the stunning “Theme for an Adventure at Sea”. Fogel almost sounds like Chris Martin (Coldplay) on this subtle, quiet acoustic track and suddenly – land ho! – the band kicks in to create an amazing and rousing finish.
On most of the other tracks, Fogel has an Evan Dando (Lemonheads) quality to his voice that fits comfortably into his brand of pop rock, which often inches into the alt-country territory of Wilco. In addition to the aforementioned tracks, “E.H.M.” and “Dead Petals”, seemingly written to appeal directly to fans of Guster, are also highlights on this CD. And don’t miss the sixty second bonus track written just for disgraced Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich.
Back at the start of the year, SPIN Magazine designated Golden Bloom as one of “8 undiscovered bands worth a listen”. With “Fan the Flames” arriving this August, you’ll have the chance to judge for yourself – and I highly recommend you do. With its pop-centric melodies and Fogel’s easy on the ear voice, Golden Bloom is poised to end the summer on a high note.
iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 4, 6, 9