Gates
Bloom and Breathe


3.5
great

Review

by Tristan Jones STAFF
October 22nd, 2014 | 219 replies


Release Date: 10/21/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: See the light.

Often, it's tough for fans of more abrasive sounds to accept a more accessible band of the given style; it's so easy to pass off such artists as insipid. At some point, however, we grow up and recognize when a band takes the best parts of our favourite genre(s) to make something universally pleasing, it isn't inherently diluted. Maybe. Bloom and Breathe, the debut full-length from New Jersey post-rock/tumblr-emo outfit Gates, sees the group pull off cathartic builds and soaring melodies that outshine their contemporaries. The glossy sheen might be disconcerting to some, but it's hard not to grow accustomed - like trading in a car. Sure, your old beater had character, but that fresh new scent is ever so inviting, and the handling is so smooth, you'll wonder how you went without it all these years.

I'm not sure when I first got into emo music... possibly ten years ago with the discovery of Texas Is The Reason and Sunny Day Real Estate, or whoever. This reminiscing would be pointless if not for the fact that, like many fans of this style, I gravitated towards more abrasive bands over time. It was addicting. Gradually, I developed somewhat of an elitism towards bands I considered too soft, like I just... you know, couldn't connect, man. Were I to maintain this outlook, I surely would've hated Bloom and Breathe without reservation. Not only is it seemingly a drop in the ocean of of post-rock hybrids, but it's undeniably polished. The vocalist sounds like John Rzeznik at one moment - particularly during "Not My Blood" - then belts out full, resonating choruses the next. The instrumentals are crisp, though a bit overproduced, and the lyrics are pretty standard fare with no apparent all-encompassing depression fuelling them, or gritty, gargling angst. Lines like "We all live clamouring to survive/and we all die longing to feel alive" feel inconsequential with the smooth, stripped down vocals serving as the medium. My 16-year-old younger self indignantly tells me I should hate this.

I don't. The songs are soothing, and it's easy to appreciate the care of craft. Guitar lines are deliberately executed throughout, but not robotically so - they are fluid, and intrinsic to the emotional buildup of the longer tracks - "At Last the Loneliest of Them" is exceptionally fervent, and sees the vocalist scream "But I won’t repent for what I’ve done/and I can’t forget what I’ve become" as the song apexes. Timing is on point, and "Light the First Page" incorporates math elements for good measure. Pop melodies carry most of the songs forward, and they rarely lull, but rather contribute to a twofold listening experience. On one hand, you could dwell in the sincerity of the instrumentation, or opt to revel in the anthemic lyrical delivery. No doubt, heartache and moments of regret are to blame on some level, but the specifics don't matter (with no intention to devalue them). Bloom and Breathe isn't merely the outpour of some profound, esoteric event. It is a broad, easily relatable spectrum of simple musings of love and hardship. Gates have delivered an album personal enough to draw your gaze, but just vague enough to put the ball in your court, allowing an understanding that is all your own. There are no constraints - bloom and breathe.



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user ratings (318)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
hogan900 CONTRIBUTOR (4.5)
We Only Live to be Alive....


Comments:Add a Comment 
JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
October 21st 2014


6363 Comments


http://purenoise.bandcamp.com/album/bloom-breathe
http://www.altpress.com/features/entry/gates_bloom_breathe_album_premiere

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
October 21st 2014


55354 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

cool feature

Digging: Julien Baker - Turn Out The Lights

ComeToDaddy
October 21st 2014


1611 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

hehe you already fixed that closing sentence typo, one step ahead of me (; halfway through the final sentence you make the same typo though, change breath to *breathe



Review feels kinda rushed for one of yours. Not much content, lots of buzzwords and the edits you've already made make me feel like you barely proofread it and just tried to rush it out while the hype train was in force. Still good because you're a great writer, but idk, spend a bit more time and you could've made a much better one

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
October 21st 2014


6363 Comments


@cometodaddy - I feel ya man, not my most in-depth for sure but I said what I wanted to say. I've got a nice, long one coming up
for the new Grouper album though.

the album has been streaming since yesterday though, so plenty of time to get a bunch of listens in and absorb what I needed to.
wasn't aware of any 'hype train' with this one tbh. Hopefully it gets some attention anyway.

ComeToDaddy
October 21st 2014


1611 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I may have come off sounding overly critical, it's still good, it's just that I've come to expect something special from your reviews because of how great they always are hehe



Yeah super keen for that Grouper review, I've been listening to it since you got me to proof it and I'm falling in love with it

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
October 21st 2014


6363 Comments


nah man, it's good that you're encouraging me, constructively - more users should do that. and yeah that new Grouper album is dope

elbaliem
October 22nd 2014


1051 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nice review. more people should check this amazing band

Cloudcity
October 22nd 2014


110 Comments


Good album. Very enjoyable review!

Tyler.
October 22nd 2014


13720 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yo new brunswhick nj however you spell it isnt far at all from me. i hope they lose a member cause ill fill in yo

TooManyFriends
October 22nd 2014


2529 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

album is next level

ScuroFantasma
Contributing Reviewer
October 22nd 2014


10875 Comments


great review Johnny, I like the use of first-person. 'grats on the feature too.

Digging: Russkaja - Energia!

Lefondre
October 22nd 2014


133 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Super keen to listen to this. Really enjoyed their EP.

Digging: Converge - The Dusk in Us

henryChinaski
October 22nd 2014


3883 Comments


Need to check this out. The singles they released are all great. Nice write-up!

Digging: Kiasmos - Blurred EP

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
October 22nd 2014


6363 Comments


thx guys. went for a more straightforward approach with this one, glad some of you liked it

hogan900
Contributing Reviewer
October 22nd 2014


2598 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Review is great man

I'm hoping this thing blows up in popularity, kinda reminds me of There Will be Fireworks a bit

Pajolero
October 22nd 2014


912 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

TWIAP are hyping theses guys up on their tumblr page constantly, no excuse to not check them out now.

Digging: Grave Pleasures - Motherblood

North0House2
October 22nd 2014


5999 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yo, this is totally awesome. Best thing I've heard in awhile.

Digging: Delta Sleep - Management

Celtics2448
October 22nd 2014


20 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Good review, it's getting harder for me to get into new music but this is clearly an exception

JS19
October 22nd 2014


5963 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Blew my face off on the first listen - will pribably bump down to a 4.5 but this deserves its 5 for a bit

Digging: Devictus - Mercury Haze

greencorn5
October 22nd 2014


314 Comments


Great live show. Very high energy.



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