Brace for the Bloom, the second album from Minnesotans Dragons Power Up!, is one of those albums that washes over you without making much of an impact. You hope that after a few more listens it will start to reveal something more substantial, but it never does. This album throws together indie and punk stylings, and tosses in a bit of dance and pop for good measure, but nothing seems to stick. Regardless of whether a song is supposed to be hard-hitting (“House Fires”, “My Hands Are Strong”), catchy (“Filter Valve”), or something more challenging (“Ballahol”), the flat production of the album smooths it all out.
The guitars are supposed to sound fierce, the drums are supposed to be powerful, and the band’s shout-singing style should sound huge. However, on this recording, none of these elements quite get there. Worse, the band seems to have good ideas for many tracks, but has trouble fleshing them out into full-blown songs. A track may have an interesting rhythm or a cool lyrical idea, but nothing quite comes together the way it feels like it should. All of this leaves Brace for the Bloom sounding a lot like ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead on an off-day.
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