Album Reviews

Superorganism – World Wide Pop

(Domino) UK release date: 15 July 2022

London collective’s second album is a big, unrelenting alt-pop record which is never, ever boring

Superorganism - World Wide Pop It’s taken four years for Superorganism to follow up their debut self-titled album, and it’s not hard to see why. There’s a lot going on with World Wide Pop, and with the amount of samples and intricate cut-ups that make up the band’s second album, there must have been a fair amount of time spent in just creating the album’s sound.

Superorganism’s back story is fascinating in itself. They communicated exclusively online with various members based in Australia, the UK and the USA, and when they released their debut were an eight strong collective. Since then, they’ve slimmed down a bit, now consisting of five members – yet World Wide Pop still sounds as huge as that debut did.

For Superorganism fit squarely as the mid-point between The Go! Team and The Avalanches – each song is painstakingly constructed with synths, drum machines, and samples, and mixed with a pretty potent pop sensibility. At first listen, it may seem a bit overwhelming and over the top, yet it soon settles down into a big, unrelenting alt-pop record.

They’ve also managed to recruit some pretty stellar collaborators for World Wide Pop, including the Japanese all-female punk group CHAI, and most notably indie figurehead Stephen Malkmus. At first, it would seem that the Pavement frontman would be an odd match for Superorganism, but he throws himself in with gusto, indulging in some full-on rap for It’s Raining, before sounding far more like himself on Into The Sun.

Behind all the audio eccentrics and guest stars though lie some quality pop songwriting. Sometimes, it’s like Sleigh Bells without the sledgehammer production, as on the lovely On & On, and on tracks like the euphoric Flying, with its propulsive beats and cheerleader vocals, it’s like The Go! Team have secretly released a new single.

As the band’s debut single Something For Your MIND proved, Superorganism also know how to write a nagging chorus. Put Down Your Phone may seem like an ironic title for a band so closely associated with online culture, but this plea to escape the internet and connect with real life has a chorus that imbeds into your brain, together with lyrics that can make you laugh out loud (“as you’re listening to this on your shitty little dumb device, Jeff Bezos is making 3K a second. Improbable I know.”).

Sometimes, it’s true that lead singer Orono Noguchi’s deliberately deadpan, aloof vocals can begin to grate over the course of an album, and the ‘throw everything but the kitchen sink’ approach can get a bit exhausting – the closing Everything Falls Apart manages to blend ear-shattering riffs, distorted vocals and a vibrating phone. Although it’s only two minutes long, you feel like a long lie-down afterwards.

Generally though, World Wide Pop is full of inventive, bold pop music – sometimes sugary sweet like the acoustic led, and sometimes big and anthemic such as the CHAI and Pi Ja Ma collaboration Teenager. And, as ever with Superorganism, it’s never, ever boring.

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