It’s easy to be suspicious of Superorganism. They’re a mysterious ‘art-collective’ brought together over the internet, they look impossibly young, cool and disinterested and their social media game is filled with emojis, GIFs and memes that is guaranteed to make anyone over the age of 21 feel very old indeed. You could even be forgiven that they were specially manufactured by some evil genius in a record company office looking to create the perfect Generation Z pop group.
The truth, as ever, is a bit more complicated. Superorganism were actually formed a couple of years ago when Japanese teenager Orono Noguchi discovered New Zealand indie pop band The Eversons. After meeting the band at a gig in Japan, Noguchi kept in touch with them via Facebook and Skype, and eventually started collaborating musically. Over the next few months, the band extended to members from England, South Korea, and Australia and eventually the eight strong group relocated to London to record their debut album.
It’s the sort of story that could overshadow the music, but luckily Superorganism have a knack of making insanely catchy, genre-defying, pop. Like The Go! Team on downers, each of the ten tracks gathered on Superorganism is bustling with ideas, invention and energy, while Noguchi’s vocals are shot through with a sense of ennui which comes to define the album. And while it won’t be for everyone, those who fall under its spell are likely to become obsessive followers.
Something For Your M.I.N.D. will probably have been most people’s introduction to Superorganism, having started life as a loose demo casually uploaded to the internet and ended up as one of the main themes of FIFA 18. Over a year after its initial release, it sounds as fresh and addictive as it did then, with a Moldy Peaches style looseness and a sudden pause in the middle of the chorus that as many people will find exhilarating as irritating.
Everybody Wants To Be Famous follows a similar template – dreamy synths, laid-back vocals and lyrics that seem to capture the zeitgeisty topic of internet fame. Given the band’s formation and love of internet culture, it’s unclear whether they’re clutching their subject close to their heart or treating it with an ironic disdain, but there’s no chance of getting that chorus out of your head.
They’ve even got their own theme song, the uproariously chant-along SPROGNSM while The Prawn Song manages to call back to Something For Your M.I.N.D., throws in some screeching car brakes and lyrics that are literally about the lifestyle of a prawn (“have you ever seen a prawn cause a world war, have you ever kissed a prawn and got a cold sore? I’m happy just being a prawn”). In other hands it could be twee as anything, but here it possesses an odd kind of charm.
Sometimes, the cooler-than-thou stylings can grate. Nobody Cares is rather too laid back and woozy for its own good while Nai’s March is just a collection of electronic noodling which, although it’s less than three minutes, seems to last a lot longer. Those are outliers though, to be fair, and by the time the gorgeously chill closer Night Time rolls around, you’re ready to go right back to the start again.
Whether Superorganism are around for the long-term remains to be seen – they very much seem like the sort of band who’d briefly exist to capture the mood of the age before disappearing again – but this is a startling debut that pulls off the trick of sounding utterly disposable and simultaneously full of substance.