Superorganism’s second album World Wide Pop is disorientating but enjoyable in parts, with good lyricism often drowned out by complex instrumentals.
World Wide Pop is not easygoing, but neither is jumping up and down on a bouncy castle non-stop for 40 minutes. It can be fun, but the conditions have to be just right to get you in the mood. This album won’t take you on a journey, but will leave you smiling in spite of the headache.
Superorganism are unusual to me, being only one of two bands I know of who met and formed online, the other being Texas hip-hop coterie Brockhampton. An indie pop motley throng comprised of members from England, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea, Superorganism have inherited their sound from the likes of Tom Tom Club (‘Genius of Love’), The B-52’s (‘Love Shack’), and Yeah Yeah Yeahs (‘Gold Lion’), whilst dutifully channeling the technicolour madness of the latter. It’s also important to note that, when they formed in 2017, lead singer Orono was only 17. That was only several months before they released their first, self-titled album, a record birthed before all the members of the band had even been in the same room together.
Only the five members of Superorganism know exactly ‘what’ they are, and I’m not even sure that’s possible either. Words and phrases such as ‘maximalism’, ‘post-everything’, and ‘cyborgian rock opera’ have been offered online, so it’s best to just drink it all in and enjoy the taste, kind of like downing a can of Monster and refusing to look at the ingredients list.
According to Orono, one of her lyrical preoccupations with World Wide Pop was the idea of ‘manifestation’, relentless optimism in which you mentally focus on something, anything, that you want, and aim for it. “Thinking ‘I want this and I’m gonna get it’ does something in your brain — you unconsciously start making decisions to help you get whatever it is that you want,” Orono explains. “There’s something very powerful about that. It’s kind of like magic, but real.”
That’s all very interesting – and it belies Orono’s obvious intellect and knack for lyricism – but we’re not really set up to detect any ‘manifesting’ for most of the album. Other than the in rare verses without voice distortion or the disorientating synth medley (of Superorganism’s army of instrumentalists), perhaps just two songs work somewhat well in bringing Orono’s voice out: ‘It’s Raining’ and ‘Put Down Your Phone’. As for the rest, the overbearing percussion of God-knows how many instruments quashes anything the lyrics might be trying to say and ends up jarring the ear.
At various points throughout I dreamed of stealing Orono’s trapped lyrics and shipping them off to a quiet studio somewhere else to mix with something softer, more compatible, for the sake of both the music (which isn’t bad at all for the most part) and her vocals. For example, ‘I’ve never felt this lonely, Solar System help me out’ is a nice line from the chorus of ‘Solar System’, another decent song with the wrong lyrics. Orono, if you’re reading this, you should consider a stripped back solo project alongside your dedication to the band.