An engaging and graceful record that carefully crafts a sense of comfort...

Max Bloom delivers an elegant and charming sophomore record with ‘Pedestrian’, the follow-up to his 2020 full-length effort ‘Perfume’. Fragile, all-encompassing environments provide a simultaneously mellow and euphoric listening experience. It is all too easy to become lost in the delicate and reflective soundscapes crafted on this LP, yet the soothing vocals kept at the forefront provide a pleasant degree of easy-fitting grounding to the rich, soft timbre achieved here.

This introspective album is the definitive soundtrack for walking through a bustling city, calming observing the movements of those around you. A long-form artistic piece, ‘Pedestrian’ maintains balance through a theme of connection; Max’s self-examining narratives reflect upon his own life and career, disguising thematic deep dives under a high- rising sonic atmosphere.

Weaving guitar lines drive each track through various interludes and accompaniments. The title track opens the journey with slow and gradual piano motions that are smoothly built upon with synth keys, jazzy brass segments and a persistently sharp drum backing. Instrumentation never becomes harsh or strives to radiate a raucous energy, but fortunately the comforting hush formulated maintains an appeal across the ten tracks present. ‘All The Same’ proves that the tracks here are in fact not all the same, with a deep bassline underpinning a percussive rattle and some warbling synths in a real highlight moment.

‘Under Green Skies’ then turns in the opposite direction; a rambling, soulful guitar twang expresses a sombre sense of mourning, although for what exactly is not clearly established. A sense of catharsis is subconsciously imposed by the time strings kick in, with ‘Twenty- Two’ spiralling into an echoing chamber of whirling acoustics before the LP closes with a soft twinkle.

Max Bloom has stretched his refined touch into an expansive music project that finds comfort in its own ambition. Strong and raw instrumentation lays a varied and strong foundation for a subdued vocal performance that charms listeners into a relaxed state, in which you can float along to the soaring instrumentals provided throughout.

7/10

Words: Finlay Holden

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