Golden Bloom Fan the Flames

Golden Bloom Fan the Flames
Golden Bloom is Shawn Fogel's way of disguising the fact that he's pretty much a one-man band. He wrote all the songs, plays everything (apart from some inconsequential piano on one song), sings every note and has made one of the year's catchiest debuts. Fan The Flames is one of those supremely satisfying pop records that hit the listener with hook after hook. Yet it isn't the one-dimensional effort it could have been, with Fogel mixing his upbeat power pop with a bit of country twang, punctuating it with the occasional ballad. He shares the same kind of playfulness that Ben Kweller used to have in his early days, making this a very easy album to like. Fogel hasn't completely found his feet yet though, utilising a quartet of producers to make Fan The Flames, without the results bearing little fruit, as none of them bring anything new to the table, still sounding like it needs to be filled out on occasion. Next time around it might be best just to leave him to his own devices, because he's doing just fine by himself. (The Sleepy West)