Music review: Fil-Brit beabadoobee’s debut album is a love letter to '90s alt-rock

Rick Olivares

Posted at Oct 21 2020 06:23 PM


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“Care, care, care (yeah),” sings Filipina-British indie rock artist Beabadoobee as she channels the teen spirit of late American grunge band, Nirvana and the Smashing Pumpkins in her brand of lo-fi bedroom pop-rock in the opening song “Care” and much of her debut album, "Fake It Flowers."

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You can say that the young and talented lady, who had an epiphany with the music of Kimya Dawson in the soundtrack to the 2007 coming-of-age film "Juno," has grown up. Even the video for “Worth It” finds beabadoobee in her underwear at the end.

If the first four extended play singles of Beatrice Laus (aka known as beabadoobee) were characterized by lo-fi bedroom pop laced shoegaze musings, her debut album cranks up the crunch that now separates her from fellow Londoner Kero Kero Bonito, Texas’ mysteriously named fuvk, and other similar artists. 

Beabadoobee was selected by British music critics as one of the breakout stars this 2020 along with fellow United Kingdom artists Arlo Parks, Celeste, Easy Life, Georgia, Inhaler, Josef, Joy Crookes, Squid, and Yungblud. 

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic struck. While it has shut down live performances and tours, it hasn’t stopped beabadoobee from releasing "Fake It Flowers" last October 16. 

Laus teased of this upbeat sound with “If You Want It To” on her debut extended play single, "Patched Up," as well as “You Lie All the Time” from her last EP, "Loveworm."

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Whether a love letters to Nirvana and 1990s aggro, or just a young woman spreading her wings, "Fake It Flowers" finds beabadoobee in her best outing yet. (The album is from England-based indie label Dirty Hit Records that was founded, among others, by former professional football player Ugo Ehiogu). It’s great that she has taken the next step instead of rehashing the music on her EPs. 

Make no mistake, we love her lo-fi work. It even makes a brief cameo in “How Was Your Day?” But we love her 1990s indie rock sound right down to the loud-soft dynamics even more.

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In “Charlie Brown,” the hardest rocking track on the album, beabadoobee rages, “Throw it away! Throw it away!” Kurt Cobain would.

If Side A had Seattle rock all over its riffs and vibe, Side B goes mid-western to the art rock musings of the Smashing Pumpkins complete with pensive rockers and strings. 

Laus sings about everyday things such as coffee, love, and the complexities of relationships. Adding a full band instead of acoustic strumming has given her music a different dimension. And I love it. 

When I first saw beabadoobee, she was rocking her red-dyed hair and I thought back to Miki Berenyi, the similar red head of shoegaze pioneers Lush in the 1990s. Berenyi’s choice of hair color along with her striking Asian features (she’s half-Japanese, half-Hungarian but from England) was so attractive. 

Laus is the same but with a saccharine and black coffee side. 

"Fake It Flowers" features a young and bright talent that has started to tap into her potential. And now the world is for beabadoobee to take.