The concept of an art collective is one that stretches back over centuries of history. Creative souls meshing together to share resources, ideas, viewpoints and, often, living quarters. This week, we are treated to the debut self-titled release from one such collective. Superorganism originate from Japan, New Zealand, Australia, South Korea and Lancashire but can now be found sharing a house in London's East End. Their artistic approach seems to be the auditory equivalent of the 'line at a time' stories that take place on folded paper in school playgrounds as tracks are built upon time and again by different members in turn.
A continual theme of the album's tracks is the winding road that the music leads you down. Very few of the songs end in the same place as they began and it is only by taking each piece as a whole that they can be truly appreciated. Opening track It's All Good serves as a positive thinking mantra for a modern world. From its initial slow, sleep-encrusted beckonings of 'good morning', the song builds to a rapturous conclusion. Everybody Wants To Be Famous takes the opposite trajectory, employing a cliff hanger line structure to expose the celebrity lure industry before morphing and losing its purity as it draws to a conclusion.
Nobody Cares is a beautiful rallying call for the self-conscious. Once again starting as disjointed, confusing and tangled, things begin to slot into place before emerging into a sunshine of enlightenment. Nai's March conjures up a dreamlike Lost In Translation vibe as it juxtaposes the old and the new of Tokyo life over an electronic-heavy backdrop. The Prawn Song is a satirical masterpiece in its longings for shellfish-based societal simplicity. Closing track Night Time brings us full circle on a euphoria-laden track that conjures up imagery of teen revelry and misadventure that culminates in the words 'wake up'.
A lot will be said of the band's experimental sampling and comparisons will be drawn, not unfairly, with Gorillaz. It is, however, the vocal performance of lead singer Orono Noguchi that really pulls this album together and offers a dimension that Gorillaz struggled to attain in their most recent release. Stylised as OJ, she possesses a true storyteller's voice. Limited in its peaks and troughs, it is comforting in its tone and warmth and acts as a reassuring constant as the rest of the track tumbles and turns around it.
Like many art collectives, Superorganism have emerged at a time of political strife where the world feels like a darker place. Whilst the album is not overtly political, there is a definite attempt by the collective to provide a counterbalance to the growing shadow beneath which we find ourselves living. Each of the songs carries a message of positivity and hope. In fact, the group almost take a position of detachment, an existence lived outside mainstream thought radiating crackling bursts of optimism. This, combined with the evolutionary quality of the songs, makes Superorganism an album almost unique in its execution and an exquisite advert for the creative power of the hive mind.
Then again, I might be wrong. I am a Musical Moron, after all...
Lyric Of The Week
“Record skip, tripping over, falling up the stairs//Awkward kids putting gel into their greasy hair//Nobody cares”
Spreading messages of hope
To heal broken worlds
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