In Review: beabadoobee - Fake It Flowers

Despite faithfully adopting the affectations of late 90s/early 00s headstrong pop-punk bands, beabadoobee's debut album unfolds like a diary entry torn out and thrown away because it’s too raw and real for even the writer to look at.
Posted: 29 October 2020 Words: Alice Shuttleworth

Twenty year-old Filipino-born British singer-songwriter beabadoobee (or Beatrice Laus as she is known to her friends) is back with a snap, crackle and pop with new album Fake It Flowers.

She immediately pulls us in with the first track, the delicately angsty ‘Care’. No more than two seconds in and beabadoobee's sweet barely-there vocals come melting through tenderly confessing "it's been a while since I've talked about it". This off-the-cuff confession sets the tone for the rest of the album and her candid no-nonsense lyrical stamp; there isn’t a song on Fake It Flowers that doesn’t sound like an intimate confession of emotion. Laus effortlessly harks back to a bygone era of riot grrrl female-fronted bands of the nineties, and emo queens of the noughties. It isn't difficult to imagine ‘Care’ and subsequent tracks ‘Worth It’ and ‘Dye It Red’ on the soundtrack of cult nineties high school flick Clueless or setting the scene for some vamp action at The Bronze in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There’s even a song literally called ‘Emo Song’; Hayley Williams would be proud.

Despite beadadoobe's British upbringing, she has honed her craft and her voice well, adopting and recreating the iconic American high school pop-punk affectation effortlessly. Despite the familiarity of her sound, she manages to breathe fresh new life to the pop-punk genre, a reimagining of a well established sound that’s befitting of the 2020 generation. She sounds like a divine mash-up between Veruca Salt, Soccer Mommy, and Men I Trust, with an extra little special something that is distinctly hers.

The album slows down to a halt as the delicate tones of ‘Back To Mars’ start to play, a curious song at only 1:30 minutes long that almost feels uncomfortable to listen to, like you’ve accidentally seen something private that you shouldn’t have. It's gentle and soft, a diary entry torn out and thrown away because it’s too raw and real for even the writer to look at. It's intriguing that we stumble upon the track at such an early place in the album and not at the very end, which is where you might expect it to be. Instead of being an afterthought, ‘Back To Mars’ is instead a breathing space, a cleverly planned intermission from beabadoobee's otherwise fast-paced, energetic waterfall of emo skate-punk revival.

‘Further Away’ drips with resentment, not immediately detectible beneath beabadoobe’s sweet vocals and the anthemic slow-dance feeling, but lyrics such as “Was it so hard to keep your mouth shut?” and “I’ll just pretend to give a f**k” leave no doubt that this song comes from a place of pain and betrayal.

On reflection, the entirety of Fake It Flowers feels like a rollercoaster of emotion - one moment it’s energetic, excitable, hopeful, the next it draws back, unsure and hurt. This flip between boisterous, confident riot grrrl to sensitive, pensive young woman, insecure and wounded just like the rest of us, makes Fake It Flowers an easy album to love.

Fake It Flowers is out now via Dirty Hit.

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