Bea Kristi writes songs for the movies of her dreams. Although his music has gained traction on the relatively small screens of TikTok and YouTube, the 20-year-old guitarist and singer fantasizes through a cinematic lens: Tom Hanks is his hero; the Juno the soundtrack made him discover the folk side of independent rock. The Hollywood sensibility continues in her music, which she publishes as beabadoobee, a nickname coined as an Instagram handle. And rather than discussing musical or lyrical themes, she describes her work in visual terms: the songs from her first feature film, Fake flowers, have self-proclaimed “the atmosphere of the movies of the late 90s” and remind him of a “girl movie of the 2000s”. In case her floral designs and pink-hued music videos don’t make it clear enough, Kristi steps in to shade the finer details of her Nora Ephron-esque vision: “The girl finally gets along with the boy at the end.” . “
A disturbing teenager in London, Kristi found solace in a guitar her father gave her, learning to play from YouTube videos and channeling inspirations from romantic comedy and her parents ‘love for’ 90s alternative rock. in grainy recordings. The first song she wrote, “Coffee,” was loosely based on the first song she learned on guitar, “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None the Richer. In an appropriate cinematic escalation, “Coffee” found minor success on YouTube before Canadian rapper Powfu interpolated it into a lo-fi hip-hop track. Her remix exploded on TikTok, ending up getting Kristi’s sweet scratch in a Dunkin ‘commercial. With only two chords and a shoddy amateur recording, Beabadoobee had started recording the lives of his peers.
Its viral success caught the attention of Dirty Hit, the British power-pop label behind 1975 and Wolf Alice. With their support, Kristi released 2018’s Patched up and 2019 Loveworm and Space cadet EPs, each moving away from the sheepish melancholy of chamber pop. Through the latter, she had perfected a combination of the silent dynamics of grunge and the false disaffection of pop-punk. Like a well-organized For You page or the soundtrack to a Fox Searchlight movie, Kristi’s music is adorned with pop culture references: “I wish I was Stephen Malkmus,” she shouted over her voice. eponymous single from 2019. Fake flowers builds on the ambitions of these releases, pairing his knack for boring choruses with violins, handclaps and a reverberation worthy of Slumberland. But rather than attempting mimicry, Kristi selects the most powerful elements from her larger ’90s palette for maximum impact. For millennials and Gen Xers who, like her, grew up on an eclectic diet of Avril Lavigne and cranberries, the melodies are immediately heartwarming.
With the help of producer Pete Robertson (formerly of British punk revivalists The Vaccines), the album is relentless in its pursuit of a huge hook. “Worth It” reshapes Britpop’s lush strings into a climactic motif that builds up with each arena-sized chorus; “Charlie Brown” combines understated verses with a simple chorus, practically designed for Kristi’s imaginary big-screen synchronizations. And where “Coffee” and other early singles relied on predictable chord progressions, Kristi seeks open chords and devious tempo changes on “Dye It Red” and “Care”, achieving an intuitive approach to pop. which continues to sweep left of center.
But like a good soundtrack in a CW drama, its music always performs better in the background. Despite his love for ’90s alternative rock poets, a closer listen reveals that his writing is disappointingly prosaic. Her lyrics seem designed for form rather than color, reaching the level of math class margin notes and locker graffiti: “Kiss my ass / You don’t know jack”, she sings on “Dye It Red “, with an almost comical delivery feeling. The album is roughly about the trials and tribulations of young love, especially with boyfriend Soren Harrison, but it rarely escapes the most direct expression of those thoughts – “It’s hard because it sucks”, she moans on “Further”; “I think I want to marry her,” she happily sings on “Yoshimi, Forest, Magdalene”. “Horen Sarrison” (understood?) Leans more on figures of speech, offering a glimpse of the poetic potential in the doe-eyed metaphors of his verses: “You are the smell of the sidewalk after the rain / You are the last empty seat in a train, ”sings Kristi, a welcome moment of intimacy in a disc made of tossed about generalizations. In the editing room, it would be easy to cut to its oversized backing vocals, but in real time, its greenness is harder to ignore.
Fake flowers is an album of vibes: It uses the tilted melodies and flannel aesthetic of alternative rock in the service of pop hooks that are almost incredibly simplistic and repetitive. The hope, as Kristi says, is that you would sing those songs in your mirror, blow them up in your car, and jot them down in a journal after the breakup. Too often, she jumps to John Hughes-isan climaxes without laying the groundwork that would give them the proper emotional weight. But Kristi shines as a guitarist and songwriter; even the most severe skeptics might be forced to headbang once the power chords break over a particularly distorted chorus. Beabadoobee needs to point his script, but the scenery is perfectly lit.
Buy: Rough Trade
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