Superorganism - 'Superorganism' Review
Superorganism had a lot riding on their self-titled debut. With support from the industry’s aficionados, such as BBC 6Music, NME, and Pitchfork, the oft-labelled ‘Next Big Thing’ have piqued the interest of pretty much the entire globe.
Good thing they attracted the interest of the world, then, as the band is an international collective, consisting of eight members from every corner of the planet. Vocalist Orono Noguchi met four members of The Eversons at a gig in Japan, later becoming friends and forming the band over Skype and email. Truly a band of the internet age, their songs are littered with carefully thought-out pop-culture references and modern inflections.
Superorganism feels like 33-minute song with 10 different episodes, with each track bleeding into the one that follows it. There’s a sense of unity amongst the tracks, whether that be through the self-aware superficially critical lyrics or the steady, bubbly basslines, or both, is up to the individual.
Opening the record, ‘It’s All Good’ is an anthem begging to be screamed at an outside festival, the banging chorus suited for a still summer’s day. The track’s heaving basslines work steadily with the spoken word samples and Orono’s syrupy vocals; the off-centre guitars rolling in the background are musically incongruous, but in this carelessly fun song, it clicks together like a piece of rainbow-hued velcro. The offbeat pop leaks into second track ‘Everybody Wants To Be Famous’, which samples cash registers (sorry M.I.A) and champions a water-drenched instrumental. ‘Everybody Wants To Be Famous’ is an obnoxious, copy-and-paste track, aware of its own ridiculousness, but working so unchangeably well.
‘Nobody Cares’ and ‘Reflections on the Screen’ take the pace of the record down a notch or two, showcasing Orono’s sweet vocal ability, and lamenting the fruitlessness of something: creativity, band culture, teen culture, or just life itself; it’s uncertain, but regardless of the collective’s intentions, that’s what they get at. ‘Nobody Cares’ features an end section reflecting the sound of a stuck tape, and that speaks volumes; while increasing the song’s length, it’s sonically broken, not adding anything to the track. This idea of ‘stuckness’ is furthered with ‘Reflections on the Screen’, the very name of the song mirroring its themes and concerns with modern life. But I don’t think Superorganism are criticising the technological age, more working alongside it and embracing it, because without these screens and these tapes, the band would not exist in the form it does.
Self-awareness peaks with middle track ‘SPRORGNSM’, which takes guitar sounds, basslines, and vocal samples from earlier tracks on the record, whilst concerning itself with becoming a ‘Superorganism’--what that is remains a secret. Placed directly after ‘SPRORGNSM’ is debut single ‘Something For Your M.I.N.D’, which is still a beautiful, thoughtful coalescence of the sampling skills of The Avalanches and the electronic experimentation of Gorillaz, while adding a new, completely unheard tinge of off-kilter wobbly keyboards and warped male vocals. Following ‘Something For Your M.I.N.D’, ‘Nai’s March’ is an insane, tremulous mess of video-game samples and arbitrary sounds, centred only with Superorganism’s trademark guitar crest and Orono’s soft voice. Mania runs wild with ‘The Prawn Song’; I’m sure there’s a deeper meaning to the lyrics, as “I’m happy just being a prawn/Have you ever seen the prawn cause a world war?/Have you ever seen a prawn get a cold sore?” is the drop into obscurity I’ve been waiting for the entire record. That’s the brilliance of Superorganism; the musical layers and complexity work mechanically with the vocals, in a way that both fits perfectly, and in a way that shouldn’t sound as good as it does.
Closing their debut, ‘Relax’ and ‘Night Time’ display danceable beats, heavy, sporadic samples, and deep bass. The hooks of the tracks, not to mention the unpackable percussion, are phenomenal, and ensure that the album stays in the air long after it is finished.
The complex structure of the record begs the question: is this a tale of a character’s descent into madness? We start out with unhinged positivity, and fall into a story of fame, heady pleasure, and end with nonsensical and tiring beats. Regardless of the intention of the album, Superorganism have created something obscure yet accessible, fun yet labyrinthine, influenced yet highly original. A thoroughly unmissable release. 9/10
Superorganism is out today (2nd March) on Domino. Catch Superorganism at Latitude this summer.
((((someone please buy me a ticket because I’m a skint music lover))))