Beabadoobee: Fake It Flowers review – shiny, vulnerable retro pop

Kitty Empire

London bedroom pop sensation Bea Kristi – aka Beabadoobee – takes her cues from the off-kilter indie guitars of a quarter-century ago, in much the same way as like-minded Americans Phoebe Bridgers or Soccer Mommy. An old song called I Wish I Was Stephen Malkmus found her “crying to Pavement”, venting about change and dyeing her hair blue.

Fake It Flowers, Beabadoobee’s debut album proper, polishes the sound of her spindlier EPs, homogenising away some of their gawk and crunch. Her singing voice isn’t particularly 90s, but a winsome coo you could see nailing one of those treacly TV advert cover versions.

Still, “soft and gentle and naive and scared” is a stated artistic aim here, and Kristi balances mellifluous vulnerability with the odd verbal death stare (Dye It Red is a gem) and some tough subjects: self-harm is an undercurrent in her work. Just as judging the past from the present can be a fraught undertaking, weighing up the throwback 90s indie du jour by the standards of the decade itself is probably unfair too, but you wish Beabadoobee could muster a little more period-perfect surliness.