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(Credit: Callum Harrison)

Music

Beabadoobee issues pleasantly shifting multi-genre alt-pop on ‘Beatopia’

Beabadoobee - 'Beatopia'
3.5

It would be all too easy merely to refer to Beatrice Laus as a young pop star. After all, she is a young 22-year-old woman with a heavy base of young Tik-Tok fans, often spotted with varying brightly-dyed hair and tracks that contain an undeniable bubble-gum sweetness within them. Yet Laus, known professional as Beabadoobee, comes across as a multi-disciplined songwriter adept in several genres.

Evidently, Laus herself contains glimmers of being the indie-sweetheart of the new wave of the internet generation, although the current state of pop music has blurred the lines between the popular and the alternative. Pop now regularly draws inspiration from the alternative, indie and, hell, even goth aesthetics (looking at you, Eilish). Such is the nature of today’s youth, as they attempt to define their own generation’s style and purpose, desperately grabbing from the facets of times before they were born, frighteningly unaware of the postmodern role of pastiche.

It is on Beabadoobee’s new album Beatopia, released on Dirty Hit, that we discover Laus’ own approach to creating a discipline entirely based on what has gone before it. Though the result is one that, despite the pastiche, attempts to move pop forward into new frontiers. It must be said from the off, however, that Beatopia is expertly produced, regardless of the genre it tries to imitate in each track.

Beatopia kicks off with ‘Beatopia Cultsong’, a folky effort, at once showcasing that Laus is more than just another pop star. It is an invitation into the magical world of Beatopia, with bongos, chanting, and what I can only discern as rattling kitchen cutlery. We are entering Laus’ world here, where the rules of what goes are her own.

Immediately after the opening track, we are taken into’ 10:36′, a more traditional pop tune with fuzz-laden guitars and a delicious guitar solo to boot. If Nirvana songs were Beatles songs with a heavy lean then this could just about pass for a Nirvana track written by Beabadoobee’s fellow Dirty Hit alumni, The 1975, with Avril Lavigne on vocals.

There are anthemic, almost euphoric tracks, like the patiently built ‘See you Soon’, reminiscent of Yuck‘s 2011 self-titled debut album. The folk theme continues on ‘Ripples’, as Beatopia constantly shifts and moves, with a pleasing string section to soothe us from the sometimes abrasive fuzz-pop sounds. In Beatopia, there are many Beatrice Lauses, each with their own personal style. There is even a Latin-jazz-inspired Beatrice Laus found on ‘the perfect pair’, as well as a Laus who delights in American Football-esque guitar lines on ‘Pictures of Us’.

Lyrically, Laus writes quite exclusively (at least on the album’s singles) on what she views as complex youthful relationships. “I swear you’re in my head/Throughout the day/I can say that for a fact/Know we had better days,” she laments on ‘Lovesong’. Elsewhere on ‘Talk’, Laus pens what is undoubtedly a nod to the apparent influence of Lavigne, “Why’d you have to be so complicated?”

Ultimately, Beatopia represents a generation obsessed with late 1990s and early 2000s indie and pop. The result is a record that shifts between slow patient efforts and brusque fuzz pop. It cements Beatrice Laus’ place in the contemporary alt-pop movement and takes her from ‘one to watch’ to ‘one who will continue to rise to stardom’, even if that stardom will inevitably come from a stream of teenagers who struggle to create a unique and original definition of their own generation.

https://open.spotify.com/album/2rhNQbqRNxiNQkDXTffe1V?si=PN358d_NQRemBMeNjOmzrg