The band's own influences are clear, but not in a direct, creative sense. Blossoms have their own sound and it is very different from their indie predecessors. There are hints and nods, but nothing more. If there is a passing of the torch, it is in spirit. These are working-class lads, blessed with great tunes and a cocksure conviction to take on the world.
Their new record is an emphatic statement of intent. A brilliantly cohesive storyline of an album. There's no hint of sophomore struggle or identity crisis - this is Blossoms, and you are dared not to fall in love. Their eponymous LP may have been a phenomenal debut with moments of brilliance, but this is something else. This is a complete work.
In the modern streaming age of pick'n'mix listening, you will want to take in Cool Like You as a full experience, as God intended. It's like a cinematic joyride through the best movie you've never watched. Each song is a new scene, a different colour - with the same plot running through it. It's not a soundtrack, it's more like a movie.
Indeed frontman and songsmith Tom Ogden admits to film directors such as Michel Gondry and Nicolas Winding Refn being key reference points. He explains that the truly exceptional I Can't Stand It - possibly the group's finest work to date - is partly inspired by Gondry's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
"It's a song about desperately wanting to forget about someone, but you can't because they're a part of you - and how it can be unbearable. Spotless Mind is about wanting to erase someone from your thoughts - to forget they even existed - and that feeds into the lyrics. It's a very literal song in many ways."
That's a theme of the album as a whole. It is often achingly honest and unashamedly sincere. Tom suggests this is because he no longer feels the need to disguise his feelings. "I used to hide behind grand metaphors a bit, as with Charlemagne, which was about worshipping someone. But now I feel more comfortable being really personal and literal. I think people relate to it."
That's not to say the album is a sombre listen - quite the opposite in fact. It is a rousing kaleidoscope of vibrant guitars, infectious synths, and up-tempo beats - all layered over finely-crafted melodies. For instance, the anthemic There's A Reason Why explores the tragic scenario of right-girl-wrong-situation, with a euphoric sound that'll have arenas bouncing.
It's a Smiths-ian trick of combining poignant lyrics with a lush, glamorous sound. Blossoms have taken this formula and made something very much their own. That sweet spot between melancholy and melody that can break your heart one minute, and set the pulse racing the next. In its entirety, the album is a testament to how thrilling, all-consuming, and brutal love can be.
Tom, Charlie, Josh, Joe and Myles are a tight unit, both musically and fraternally, and together they have created their own hyper-realistic soundscape. This is music infused with a myriad of different influences, from Blondie to Daft Punk. Much like the most noted works of New Order and The Cure, it is indie music to dance to.
Talk to Joe and he'll wax lyrical about the Courteeners and Oasis, speak to bassist Charlie Salt and he'll recall the subconscious impact of his DJ uncle playing funky house as a kid. These are all ingredients that make up the compelling whole of a band that has emphatically found its own sound on this second outing.
It is fascinating to learn how Tom's songwriting process has evolved as his musical horizons have widened. Much credit is given to long-time champion and mentor James Skelly (probably the closest to a 'sixth Blossom' as there is) for introducing new sounds and influences to the mix. That includes the keys.
Whereas the debut album was largely born of guitar strumming, Tom describes a gradual - and noticeable - move to composing via keyboard.
"Earlier songs [on the Blossoms LP] like Blow and Cut Me And I'll Bleed were written on the guitar, whilst Charlemagne was probably 50/50. Later songs, like Honey Sweet and At Most a Kiss, they were written on the keyboard. Most of this album has continued in that vein. These days I find it more natural to write melodies on a keyboard - it's easier to jump from note to note, and to feel the tune out."
Although there are obvious echoes to the synth-laden eighties, it is not remotely a retrospective record. Rather this is Blossom's contemporary take on the electronic sounds of future past. It is also the result of playing around with some shiny new toys as their profile and resources have grown.
"We were able to invest in some decent eighties sounding synths, so when we came off tour I had a new bit of kit to go at. I think it just lends itself to experimenting. It was like having Stranger Things at my fingertips! Each instrument has its own character - its own soul if you want - and that comes out in the songs."
What also comes out is a realness and sincerity. In a world of snarky, embittered tedium, Blossoms are relentlessly creative and passionate. Tom Ogden writes of love, loss, dreams and belonging - everything you should care about in your youth. Each verse is a very real sentiment, delivered with soaring vulnerability.
What Blossoms tap into - what absolutely hooks their legion of fans - is that sense of drive and full-hearted desire to be something bigger than yourself. They're the ones you're rooting for - a gang of five you can live through vicariously. That thing about youth being wasted on the young? Blossoms are here to tell you that's bollocks.
"I think it comes through in our songs," Tom ponders. "We're like a band of brothers on this amazing adventure together. Even now, we still do everything together. And I think that strong bond we have feeds into the music we make together. We couldn't do it if we didn't respect and trust each other."
"I'll write a song and look forward to playing it to the rest of the band. And then each of us will add our own parts, and it improves and grows, and that's what gives us our sound. When you have a basic acoustic song, it can go in various directions, musically. But together we make it Blossoms."
Spending any amount of time with the band is great craic. It is rare to encounter five bandmates so equal in status, wit and charisma. Tom is a creative force with disarming humility; Joe is gregarious and instantly likeable; Josh is sardonically funny and deadpan to a fault; Charlie is softly-spoken, warm and generous; and Myles is either unintentionally hilarious, or a legit comedy genius.
All in, they are a breath of fresh air in a musical landscape of monosyllabic haircuts and pretentious guff. Cool Like You is a record bursting to get to you; an explosion of ideas and invention that feels like both the completion of something special, and the beginning of something even better. It is little wonder they can't wait to share it.
"We want to give people an experience, to make them feel alive," Tom enthuses. "Whatever shit they've got going on in their lives, they can forget about all that and immerse themselves in another world for a while. For a lot of people, music is escapism. And that's a big part of what we're about."
"We just want to write great songs. I honestly think this record will take our live set up another level too. It sounds more like an album than the last one, and it's music to dance to and enjoy. I think people are gonna love it."
No doubt. Cool Like You is great record - both to relish and aspire to. It will cause a new generation of young scrotes from Stockport and beyond to pick up a guitar, bang the drums, and start jamming with their mates. This is Blossoms telling you it can really happen.Close
Ultimately, Blossoms leap from their chart-bound Trojan horse as modernist rock heroes.