Top to bottom, you'll be hard pressed to find an album as progressive, enjoyable and consistent as Saturation, this is the stuff that stars are made of.
BROCKHAMPTON are the latest act in the industry who can thank the ever-expanding platform of the internet for their emergence. A hip-hop collective, self-branded as a boy band, perhaps most notably fronted by Ian “Kevin Abstract” Simpson, their recent debut album SATURATION has caused waves in the scene like few others have this year. Among the many rappers and hip-hop artists attempting to break through with little variety or originality, BROCKHAMPTON easily buck the trend, producing an excellent debut album in the process, filled with certifiable bangers and unfiltered passion.
Opening track ‘HEAT’ shows this passion at its most aggressive as the vocals scream “Fuck you/I’ll break your neck so you can watch your back” over heavy instrumentals, the lyricism certainly has a dark quirkiness to it, further evident on the likes of ‘CASH’. Whilst songs like ‘GOLD’ may stand in stark contrast to the aggression of some tracks, exemplifying the smoother and groovier instrumental side of SATURATION as well as its catchy nature (“Keep a gold chain on my neck/fly as a jet” serves as perhaps the albums best hook), there’s a consistency throughout the albums 14 full tracks that is difficult to strike these days. ‘STAR’ is a brilliantly satirical record which sees the group rattle off celebrities, movies and characters in quick succession across the near three-minute refrain. The interesting stories and lyrics at play in SATURATION differ in tone and deliverance, but the intelligent production behind them create tracks with distinctive styles and intentions. All under one umbrella, this is mighty impressive work from BROCKHAMPTON; SATURATION is a modern epic of sorts.
‘FAKE’, ‘BANK’ and ‘TRIP’ would easily be the strongest tracks in a lesser artists entire discography, but with BROCKHAMPTON they’re confident and catchy tracks that serve to bolster SATURATION‘s claim as one of the finest debut albums in years. That’s not to dismiss their quality, it’s to try to quantify just how consistently great this album is. In a post 808s & Heartbreak era of hip-hop, BROCKHAMPTON provide perhaps the strongest and freshest take on this newer style that isn’t from someone named Kendrick Lamar, the fact that the group numbers at over a half-dozen is a testament to the phenomenal chemistry of the new young bucks.
As the album reaches it culmination, some more variety is thrown in for extra measure as tracks like ‘SWIM’, ‘MILK’ and ‘FACE’ seize a softer approach, expressing a more vulnerable emotional side to the group; here, they sing of love, relationships and friendship – it’s rather touching. But more than that, it’s a sign of maturity and progression in BROCKHAMPTON’s music that is hard to come by in the relatively immature genre that modern hip-hop often becomes.
You’ll be hard pressed to find a project this year that is as ambitious, yet as complete as SATURATION. Enjoyable, powerful, catchy, touching – it does it all. Are BROCKHAMPTON this year’s breakout stars? You’re damn right they are.
SATURATION is out now via BROCKHAMPTON