Australian actor and musician Troye Sivan made a bold statement with his 2015 debut Blue Neighbourhood, with his indie dream-pop sound gaining critical acclaim. The 23-year-old South African-born is back with his second full-length release, Bloom, which shows Sivan moving in a more dance-pop direction.
With Sivan’s vocal delivery, opener Seventeen feels at first like an ode to sombre alternative singers such as Bon Iver or Miike Snow, but its fragile electronic opening builds to a deeply-layered 80s synth pop roll, full of vocal layers and bombast as he defiantly belts out, “I went out looking for love when I was 17/ Maybe a little too young, but it was really me.”
The album reaches its stride with the Years & Years-esque single My My My, to the gentle acoustic strum of The Good Side, which again builds, this time into a fantastical feel, with distant electro drum crashes in the chorus.
Bloom and Dance To This, featuring Ariana Grande, provide the catchiest pop tunes here, full of little instrumental hooks, R’n’B vocal deliveries and the punchiest synth-dance beats which make them both instant hits. The soft-natured piano-led Postcard feels a little generic at first, but thanks to some beautiful harmonies from guest vocalist Gordi, the song moves towards a touching duet as they both sing, “You’re still picking me up/ Don’t put me back down like it’s nothing to you.”
Sadly the reflective relationship theme starts to get a little tiring in the remaining tracks, as Plum and Lucky Strike fail to bring any new ideas to what’s already been established throughout Bloom.
Regardless, Sivan is moving from a budding songwriter, into a blooming one.