Into the Spotlight: Superorganism
By Ryan Hutton
The scene: pre-drinks for a work awards evening that nobody in the room particularly wanted to attend (apart from Alec, but that guy is weird). I had made a playlist comprising of some work anthems, to which I mean it mainly contained music spawned from the worst genre in the world: country. Among the absolute trash that is being played in the background, a song catches my ear. It is not Chicken Fried or, worse, the sex-crazed Fast Food Song, but something else. Something slower, and much more naturalistic. The seductively sedative vocals draw me in, and then the chorus hits. The tone of lead vocalist, Orono Noguchi, changes. There is suddenly more power to the tranquilising nature of her voice. “Something for your… mind” is blared, with the ellipsis indicative of a crochet of silence. I’m surprised. I’m hooked.
Something for your M.I.N.D, like most of Superorganism’s music, is a relatively simple song that falls easy on the ears. Yet there is something captivating about it. Its catchy without being annoying. The crotchet of silence is perhaps one of the most unimpressive techniques in music, yet its surprising nature is a work of genius.
The eight-piece Art-Pop collective originate from all over the world, meeting through music forums on the internet where they bonded over memes, which is perhaps the most millennial sentences you might have read in a while. If you hate all things millennial, you might hate to know that the band all adopt nicknames, many of which are just regular names such as Harry and Ruby. Expressionist and colourful art is also a large part of the group’s performance, both visually and musically. Simply listening to the band’s blending of synthesisers and sound effects (there are a lot of birds tweeting) allows for a vivid painting to be curated in one’s mind. If there is one thing that Superorganism are successful at, its bleeding the colours of their music into the listener’s imagination.
If the group’s use of synthesisers forms the world created in the listener’s imagination, then it is certainly Noguchi’s enchanting vocals that act as the guide through this strange and foreign, yet vivid, land. There is never a point on Superorganism’s self-titled debut album that Noguchi’s vocals need to force their way into the listener’s mind. They simply belong there. Noguchi’s vocals feel like an old friend greeting you and taking you on a relaxing adventure for 33 minutes.
Because that is what Superorganism’s music is. It is an adventure. It is an experience. In an industry hellbent on using synthesisers to the most loud and obnoxious effect as each artist vies for attention, Superorganism are content with relaxing at the back of the party and having a good time, possibly with recreational substances. Fellow Art-Pop group, Glass Animals, are probably with them. Simply by taking the time to be quiet yet expressive with their music, Superorganism have been able create a unique experience. To them synthesisers are not a trend, but tools to be used to create art. They are almost like the grandchild of Depeche Mode, but perhaps a little more accessible to millennials and certainly more tied to Earth and nature.
You will not find many organic instruments in Superorganism. Aside from vocals, the band predominantly use drums and a small amount of guitar. Surprisingly, however, this does not hinder the scope of Superorganism’s work. With their first album clocking in at 33 minutes, the synthesisers do not outstay their welcome, and any natural instrument is most welcome. The album starts and closes off with the most drum heavy of their songs, It’s All Good and Night Time, and introduces a much-welcomed change of pace. Still, despite being spearheaded by Tucan’s drumming, the band’s synthesisers and staple use of sound effects complete the songs. It is in the opener and closer of their album that Superorganism state their style.
If you love Art-Pop, Synth-Pop or Indie-Pop, then Superorganism are certainly worth checking out. Very few bands in the mainstream eye are as expressionist as the young group. In fact, I would hedge my bets that they may be one of the next pioneers of the Art-Pop genre, and are well worth a listen on a rainy Sunday evening.