You may not have heard of Bloom. They are the side-project of Better Off vocalist, Luke Granered, and while with his day job he deals in heartracing emo-punk, Bloom are a somewhat mellower proposition. Thousand Yard Stare is their first release and as a whole the record sounds like a Sunny Day Real Estate that never get faster than mid-tempo, albeit with Biffy Clyro’s Simon Neil disembodied ballad vocals.

First proper track ‘Blue Valentine’ is a lullaby waltz which would be perfectly suited to a break-up mixtape and concludes with a beautiful drawn-out ultra-slow distorted guitar solo. Single ‘Yet’ surprises with its intricate acoustic picked guitar intro giving way to a thumping bass and drum stomp and possesses the nearest thing on the album to an anthemic chorus. The title track is the heaviest the album has to offer, starting with a spiralling riff that slowly gains momentum leading to an epic reverb-soaked climax. All the songs on the record feel welcoming like old friends, but unfortunately the kind of old friends you are bored of hearing the same girl trouble stories from. There isn’t enough to differentiate these songs from each other aside from the occasional cool moment.

And cool moments there definitely are , but they all seemed to cribbed from the genre’s greats: ‘Losers” ending “You stand at the bottom/like a loser” coda chant recalls ‘Soco Amaretto Lime’, Lung Cancer”s has a ‘Waiting Room’ stop-restart introduction and a ‘Just Watch the Fireworks’ orchestrated end, as well as the intermittent synth throughout the album that’s been borrowed from the Rentals. The pace is an issue; as Better Off are more full tilt Granered doesn’t feel the need to do so here, but as a result the record feels like one big 33 minute long dirge. These songs aren’t bad, but they are nothing you won’t have heard better elsewhere. Thousand Yard Stare shows promise, it shows potential and though Granered has great taste, he needs some fresh ideas and possibly a tempo change every now and again. Still budding, not yet Bloomed.

[rating: 3]