Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Beabadoobee hones and expands her aesthetic with Beatopia

"Beatopia"

Release date: 15 July 2022
8/10
Beabadoobee Beatopia art
14 July 2022, 09:00 Written by John Amen
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​Fake Flowers, the 2020 debut from Bea Laus, a.k.a. Beabadoobee, showed 20-year-old Laus fusing grunge and bubblegum templates while vacillating between outrage and self-doubt – with a few buoyant moments thrown in for contrast.

While Fake Flowers contained bursts of sublime pop, the sequence largely spotlighted a somewhat raw and unfinished sound – a formidable young artist reconfiguring and occasionally transcending her influences.

With her new album – Beatopia – Laus offers a more precisely crafted sequence while further distancing herself from her precursors. That said, the undiluted energy and uninhibited expressionism of Fake Flowers are in no way absent. The new songs reflect refinements and enhancements in terms of songcraft, with melodies crisp and cogently maneuvered. Instrumentally, the project integrates diverse approaches, including relatively stark folk-pop takes and elaborate studio forays. If Fake Flowers featured Laus toeing the indie line, at times self-deprecatingly, Beatopia is her unapologetic leap into mega viability.

“10:36” combines garage-y production values – including guitar parts that could’ve been squeezed out of a transistor radio – with well-stirred and subtly layered vocals. “Sunny day” is built around an acoustic guitar, and Laus apologising to loved ones for various infractions while enjoying a sanguine interlude. “Ripples”, too, is bolstered by a delicately picked folk progression accented by an orchestral blend of strings. Arrangements and productions are more meticulously rendered than on earlier work, though Laus’s pop demeanour is never obfuscated.

Laus bares her soul on “the perfect pair”, by addressing romantic distrust and uncertainty. A swingy guitar and bossa nova-inflected beat carry the song, Laus’s breathy vocal drape over the mix. With “Pictures of Us”, Laus further plumbs relational dynamics, alternating between nostalgia and prickliness, her voice battered by serrated guitars and synths. This is recent Snail Mail (Valentine) and/or Soccer Mommy (Sometimes, Forever) territory, though Laus displays a more natural affinity for sonic dynamics and melodic transitions. “Talk” crosses trashy drums and a punky guitar riff, with Laus possibly paying tribute to Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated” though her own song is less tongue-in-cheek and more wryly distortion-soaked.

The humorously titled “tinkerbell is overrated” (also featuring pinkpantheress) has Laus navigating a palimpsest of lead and back-up vocals over phase-shifted guitars. The result is the album’s most cerebral tapestry, though the piece remains viscerally engaging. Closer “You’re here that’s the thing” serves as an upbeat coda – a bright conclusion to a seductive and multifaceted album. Beatopia highlights an artist who has matured quickly, honing her initial work while impressively expanding her aesthetic scope.

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