Review by Dom Vigil
Gates have managed to create something absolutely beautiful with their new full-length, Bloom & Breathe. The album begins with a soft, instrumental opening track, which gives Bloom & Breathe an almost cinematic beginning and slowly brings the listener into the album without giving them too much all at once. The first track “Everything That Has Ever Been” then flows easily into the second track “Bloom,” and the transition is absolutely mindblowing.
Gates don’t hold back one bit on this release. “Bloom” starts off strong and only seems to grow as the song progresses. The guitar work is gorgeous and sweeping on this track, and the song builds perfectly and naturally when the vocals eventually come in. The track really does seem to “bloom” as everything comes together - by the time that it fades out, the song becomes bigger and louder, ending on an amazing high note, and setting the bar incredibly high for the rest of the record.
Thankfully, Gates only manage to live up to the high expectations that the first few tracks set on Bloom & Breathe. The way that each track on this album builds and progresses is absolutely incredible. There isn’t one song on Bloom & Breathe that doesn’t seem to belong - every track has a purpose and it is obvious that Gates took great care in composing every song, from the gorgeous, sweeping guitar work to the incredible harmonies in the vocals, to the phenomenal rhythm section. The only downside in this is that some songs tend to sound the same, as much of the album seems to stay on the same level at times. That’s a rather small flaw, however, and thankfully Gates manage to switch things up with unique sounding tracks such as the fuller “At Last the Loneliest of Them,” (which almost has a Thrice sound to it, especially with the unclean vocals) or the stripped down, acoustic track, “Marrow.”
Both “At Last the Loneliest of Them” and “Marrow” are arguably two of the strongest songs on Bloom & Breathe, and the differences in both songs manage to showcase Gates’ versatility as artists. While the lyricism throughout Bloom & Breathe is consistently emotional and thoughtful, the lyrics in “Marrow” and the emotional “Born Dead” are easily some of the strongest on the album. It’s always a pleasant surprise when a line in a song really manages to reach out and touch you, and that’s exactly what happens in “Born Dead” with the line, “We all die longing to feel alive.”
The best thing about Bloom & Breathe is that it’s unique. The intricate, sweeping guitar work alongside gorgeous basslines, strong drums and incredible vocal harmonies make Bloom & Breathe an absolute stand-out. There aren’t many bands who can capture the sound that Gates have found with this album. Every track on Bloom & Breathe is well constructed and thought out, and the album as a whole plays like a soundtrack - it is absolutely a cinematic experience and deserves to be listened to as a whole.
Listen to "At Last the Loneliest of Them" "Born Dead" and "Marrow"