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March 19, 2018 | by  | in Arts Music |
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Superorganism Self-Titled

Superorganism’s self-titled debut, out on Domino, arrives just over a year after the release of single “Something for Your M.I.N.D.” – likely the starting point for anyone who has encountered Superorganism, or for those who will come into contact with them moving forward. I first heard the track on Frank Ocean’s “Blonded Radio”, as he seemingly plucked the band out of obscurity. The track has punchy synths and drums, and a lackadaisical vocal appealing to any fans of slacker-pop. It’s a banger, and serves as a mission statement of sorts for the mysterious 8-piece, largely based in London. The group, notably, features former members of NZ groups The Eversons and Sherpa, as well as Kiwi background singers – so there’s definitely a local feel to this group.

The rest of the new album follows a similar sort of trajectory to its lead single – almost to a fault. Immediate standouts include “The Prawn Song”, “Relax”, and “Nobody Cares”, all of which highlight Orono’s enigmatic vocal delivery. She is simultaneously bored-sounding and somehow full of character, and as a result she feels like the star of the group. Musically, Superorganism does seem to hit an interesting niche in the indie market, as their melodic synths and live instrumentation collide with samples.

It’s the samples which cause me a little bit of grief on this record, however. The guitar slide sample, notably present on “Something for Your M.I.N.D.” pops up repeatedly throughout the record. I can understand the appeal of re-using a motif throughout a body of music; that’s a technique that harks back to classical music, and to much of the electronic music we hear today. In this case, however, the motif re-appears without further development, and without any real suggestion as to why it’s there. This statement could be true of much of the album, which seems to recycle a sonic template without huge development (barring the songs I highlighted above).

Whilst Superorganism is an encouraging debut project, I think it’s slightly half-baked (and maybe a bit rushed, given the meteoric rise of the group). It would be interesting to see if, on their next project, Superorganism can branch out into other spheres of electronic/indie-pop, and channel the enigmatic nature of their vocalist to create a more varied and cohesive project.

3/5

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