There’s nothing more mesmerising than finding a niche decade-old blog with only a few committed followers. First, you bounce between confusion, intrigue and bemusement. Then you realise it’s the blogger’s life and an understanding blossoms. An appreciation of their craft and commitment.
Superorganism are a London-based collective of varying ages and backgrounds and it’s only fitting their self-titled debut garners a similar reaction. This album sounds like the Internet.
Orono Noguchi sings throughout in an affectedly cool drone with not a hint of modulation in tone. If this is a blog, her voice delivers the main text. Other voices come in the form of suitably computerised monologues and samples, intermittently chirping in. They intrude like blog comments, supporting and dissenting in equal measure.
The rest of the band consists largely of the New Zealand indie group The Eversons, handling the synths, guitars and production. It’s pop perfection. Synths swirl, drums punctuate and the bass drones. Dotted throughout is a bluesy open chord slide guitar that often rises to introduce a new verse. It’s a simple stamp that adds a welcomed roughness. It makes the album feel cohesive and assists the pulsing pop in supporting the laconic Orono.
If Orono is languid, her words are far from it. They’re encouraging and uplifting with hints of sadness being overcome with every word.
Take the chorus of ‘Relax’. First time around, Orono repeatedly utters ‘just relax’ as car horns screech from all directions. She’s a calming voice in the distractions of life. On the second, the horns are replaced by cars skidding and crashing. The 17 year old singer is the blogger who tells you to relax when you’re at your most stressed.
The album opens with ‘It’s All Good’ and the first words heard are ‘Good morning Orono, you are awake / The weather today is dark / Would you like to get up? / Or perhaps do nothing.’ A sample of motivational speaker Tony Robbins later follows, which is hilariously drowned about by a chorus of voices yelling ‘yeah, yeah, yeah’. It’s evident that Orono is not the imposing, chirpy motivational speaker. She’s the blogger who is trying self-improvement techniques but cannot quite shake her underlying wry observations and lethargy. One ear in the cacophony of reality and another in the simplicity of happiness.
None of the pop simplicity bellies the greatness here. This is a confident exercise in craft. No melody or hook is lost and any roughness is pitch perfect and thematically consistent. It’s a celebration of sound.
This is not a London-based collective. These diverse individuals work perfectly together. They’ve earned the right to be called Superorganism
Originally written in March 2018