Ever since Late Bloomer debuted “Use Your Words,” I’ve been foaming at the mouth to hear all of Things Change, their sophomore LP on Tor Johnson, Lunchbox, and Self Aware Records. I tried to hold back until I had the LP in my hot little hands, but caved and listened to it streaming a few weeks back.
This all goes to say that Things Change is an album which — once you’ve had a taste of it — you want to hear in its entirety, over and over again. “Use Your Words” was and is an excellent introduction, kicking off the album in a way that reminds me a lot of any number of bands I hear in the mid to late ’90s, but more in terms of tone than specific sound.
Late Bloomer is one of those acts like So Adult or Squarehead that mines the ’90s for ideas, but does so wisely, discarding all the dross and waste, keeping only that which worked. It’s essentially the mirror image of a band like Creed or Bush: rather than aping the bombast and pomposity, Late Bloomer takes the energy and verve of a Dinosaur Jr or Nirvana’s indie / alt rock and mixes in the melodicism and emotional release of early emo like Sunny Day Real Estate.
A perfect case in point is “Mirror,” which is — not coincidentally — the album’s highlight. It’s this constant building up of layers: plucked bass lays a downbeat foundation, distorted guitar fuzz grows on top of it, and then things start to pick up momentum. The song builds a head of steam, with “I’m not who I think I see in the mirror” operating as a mantra as the song ebbs and flows. Each new build gets a little faster, a little stronger, and a little more until it absolutely explodes.
The title track which follows takes the formula further, building upon “Mirror,” as well as itself, and just being a loudly-proclaimed declaration of fealty. The entirety of the album is a relative surprise, given that it’s at least partially released on Tor Johnson. It’s really cool to see the label starting to branch out into music that — while still heavy — embraces melodicism.
Late Bloomer’s Things Change is out now, and available on gorgeous split red and blue vinyl. The album artwork by Michael Muller continues inside and on the back of the jacket, with individual icons representing each song. It’s pretty damned wonderful, looks lovely, and you should fucking buy a copy, already.