Review: Gates, ‘Bloom & Breathe’

Posted 3 years ago by Joel Funk

Gates is a name that I was only familiar with by association until earlier this year. The name gates became most relevant to me when I heard that they were going on tour with Pentimento and Have Mercy, two bands that had released albums that I was absolutely in love with last year. I remember thinking that if gates could get the seal of approval from both Have Mercy and Pentimento, then they were a band I needed to start paying attention to. And for a while, that’s where it stopped. The tour had come and gone, and I never did manage to listen to gates in that timeframe.

We were steadily approaching September when we got the announcement that gates was going to be releasing their debut album ‘Bloom & Breathe’ this fall. Even with all of the hype surrounding this record, I still hadn’t listened to gates. I don’t know what was keeping me from taking ten seconds to google the name and listen to something, but we’ll call it an external force that was greater than myself. This force remained very prominent up until the video for “Not My Blood” was released. I remember being swept up by that how airy the opening riff felt, and being equally as caught up in the stunning visuals given to us. For me, this was when gates became more than just a name. This is a band slated for great things, and ‘Bloom & Breathe’ is just the beginning.

This is a record that has been a long time coming, and because of that there is a level of assigned intangibility attached to these songs. The overall feeling of ‘Bloom & Breathe’ is that of an atmospheric euphoria. These songs feel light and airy, packed with choruses so triumphant that it would be a disservice to call them anything but anthemic.

Listening to the album from start to finish is an experience in it’s own right. However, that’s not to say that listening to these tracks on their own is any less satisfying.

These songs will often catch your ear on their own merit. The first of which to do so being ‘Bloom.’ The airy post-rock instrumentation is present here and there is a sense of urgency delivered to us right around the hook of the song. The middle of the song having the most emotionally drenched delivery paired with crashing drums and guitar work are what brings this song to life. This becomes a recurring theme in the album, seen again on tracks like ‘Persist In Delusion’ and ‘The Thing That Would Save You.’

What’s most impressive about this ’Bloom & Breathe’ is that it feels fleshed out and complete. These songs all work together toward the common goal of creating an album that will mesmerize listeners. They’ve managed to do just that, and thankfully left the filler at home. There isn’t a single song on this record that I skip, and I’m constantly singing the praises of Gates when I’m talking about music in the real world. It wouldn’t come as a shock if a major label swooped in to pick these guys up. This is one of the most straightforward and accessible rock albums of the year. Here’s to hoping they get the Have Mercy treatment.

Bloom & Breathe’ is an incredible debut. This is a record that feels much bigger than the scene it’s in right now. Whether you’ve been a fan of Gates from their launch in 2011 or you’re a brand new listener, I can promise that you will be enamored by this album. I cannot wait to see what the future has in store for these guys, because I know it’s only going to get bigger and better from here. 5/5