Review: Superorganism – Superorganism

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Over its 33-minute runtime, Superorganism's bizarre self-titled debut explores the weird, the wonderful, and the downright befuddling in an album which is equal parts sensational and strange.

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Superorganism are a wonderfully strange band. They have an uncanny knack of making music out of madness, and do so plenty of times across Superorganism: a Technicolor debut effort that is almost impossible to digest all at once. Although there are plenty of fantastical highs on this album, there are also enough chaotic lows to hold it back from being something truly great.

I guess it’s not surprising that the tracklist is at times muddled on Superorganism. The group – consisting of eight members heralding from places as far-flung as New Zealand, Japan, Australia, South Korea, and even Burnley – formed over music forums and YouTube recommendations, eventually releasing their first single in 2017. That single – ‘Something for Your M.I.N.D.’ – is one of the project’s high points. It showcases the full eccentricity of the band, with plenty of delightful cuts from the music that subvert your expectations and keep you engaged with what can only be described as a laid-back auditory acid trip.

There are many other highs splattered across this psychoactive record. We all know how good ‘Everybody Wants To Be Famous’ is – one of the more poppy tracks on the album, it’s been dominating the radio waves since its release at the start of January. Opener ‘It’s All Good’ really is all good, featuring an anthemic chorus that will find itself right at home in the middle of the band’s upcoming world tour. Closing track ‘Night Time’ sounds like it came straight out the Crystal Fighters‘ most recent project; it positively buzzes with optimism and summertime vibes. Take just those tracks and you’d have the kind of EP I’d be raving about for months on end: they’re exciting, surprising, and somewhat befuddling, and I love them for it. Simply put, the opening half of the album – and its final track – find Superorganism at their absolute, crowd-pleasing best.

Which makes it so much more of a shame when they go off the rails. The first half of ‘Nai’s March’ sounds promising: it’s calmer, more refined – a bit of a break from all the madness that has come before it. Its descent into an unfortunate attempt at making rhythm from random sounds therefore is the real tragedy on this record. ‘The Prawn Song’ and ‘Relax’ are somewhat better, though they still find themselves lost in the middle of the most confusing maize maze in the world. In the end, you’re left wondering how the kaleidoscopic array of sounds and samples, that worked so well in the album’s first half, have worked so much to its detriment in its second.

Superorganism is undoubtedly a fun album. It’s clear that the band are just having a blast; creating music purely for their own amusement, but building a unique sound and dedicated fanbase while they’re at it. When it works, it works. The music is just so out there, and yet so poppy, you can’t help but fall in love. But when the band stretch themselves too far, they’re almost unlistenable. In the end, this album is pleasing, petrifying, and peculiar all at once: a Superorganism all of its own.

Superorganism is out on March 2nd via Domino.

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I play/watch/listen to things, then write about playing/watching/listening to things. Special powers include downing two litres of tea at a time and binging a 13-episode Netflix series in only 12 hours. Records Editor 2018/19 OMG

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