The fifth album from the UK pop-rock quartet (heavy emphasis on the pop) is a mixture of innovation and stagnation
On Cherry Blossom, Brad, James, Connor, and Tristan try their best to freshen things up. Opener ‘Glory Days’ dives straight into predictable EDM snare rolls, but counteracts this with nostalgic potential recounting “the best days of our lives”, sentimental enough that if it came on the radio while you were mucking about with your friends in an Uber, it would probably make you tipsily tearful. Lead single ‘Married In Vegas’ fully utilises the instrumental abilities of each member of the band, with textured guitar and driving drums, before euphoric disco piano bursts in. It’s a shame then that this creativity seems missing on later tracks, with potentially catchy riffs lost under Top 40-focused electro production.
The album continues with a comparable selection of near misses. ‘Chemicals’ tries to steer the album towards newer, funkier territory with a winding bass riff and sparser instrumentation, but doesn’t end up pushing the heaviness hard enough to be memorable, blurring instead into the other mid-album tracks. Similarly, ‘Part Of Me’s breathy, synth-heavy chorus touches on something more sincere (“Every party I go to/without you/they know”), but the song concedes to radio-filler beat drops and dull repetition.
The whole thing is pleasantly listenable and succinct but overall low-key, breaking down musical boundaries but not strongly enough to be particularly noteworthy as a collection of songs. That said, Cherry Blossom is definitely a sonic development from the fresh-faced boyband that gave us (the absolute banger) ‘Somebody To You’ back in 2014, and is one of their best efforts to date.
Last modified: 3rd November 2020