Saturday, 2 March 2013

Super Best Friends Club - Super Best Friends Club

Album review by

Ever wondered what happens when you get a Kundalini Yoga teacher on vocals and percussion, a Mercury-nominated artist on vox/keys, an internationally-renowned filmmaker on bass/vox, the drummer from alternative/electronica/psychedelic duo Soccer 69, and two talented guys on vox/synth and vox/saxophone? Probably not. This isn’t an issue that had every crossed my mind until we were introduced to the world of the sextet that is Super Best Friends Club. Naming themselves after, yes, an episode of South Park (you know the episode where the gang meet David Blaine, join his cult of “Blaintologists”, figure out something’s not quite right so team up as 'The Super Best Friends' with Jesus to defeat David Blaine and the mass suicide pact that the cult stood for).

Yeah, I prepared myself for a bit of an obscure listening experience and I wasn't disappointed. Categorised on iTunes under the genre of "Tribal", Super Best Friends Club's self-titled debut album is definitely an experimental force to be reckoned with and falls firmly into the alternative fusion-riddled restraints of prog/kraut music; although boundaries are something that wisely, seem to have been absent in the making of the nine-track album. For the most part, this is a fast-paced album that divulges between making you feel a bit like you’re on a trip to the zoo during an animal riot or spiralling through space after being shot out of a cannon at varying speeds between eight-ten bajillion light years and slow motion.

Top tracks: the opening song, 'Universe Universe', sets the pace for a lot of raucous and jovial space-age tomfoolery! True to prog/kraut the track begins with heavy, frantic, spiralling sounds courtesy of a very heavy, electronically-manipulated piano supported by intense drumming; if you like an album that eases you in gently, this one's not for you. In particular there’s also a fair amount of whooping shouts, intriguing vox melodies that are at some points almost acapella, a great use of sax that gives an underlying jazzy feel and a change of tempo half way through the track that gives you time to catch your breath.

'Yes You Are' is a calmer, Animal Collective-esque track that puts particular focuses on vocal harmonies supported by a repetitive piano melody. There's also a cheery little bit of whistling going on in the background at one point. The lyrics interestingly begin with “going to school ain't easy, going to school ain't easy, I know I tried it a couple of times and it ain't easy”, which, unless you actually are still at school, evokes a sense of nostalgia. 'Evolution' was recorded next to a cage full of monkeys celebrating an 18th birthday party. It wasn't really, but that's what it sounds like. Besides the jungle chattering, look out for again, the sax and use of organ which serve to infuse prog and jazz elements into the chaos. And lastly, 'So Am I Me Too' is probably the most "mainstream" appealing song on the album. By mainstream I mean this song features similar elements and changes to Everything Everything. This track is also big on its jazzier moments. All together thoroughly enjoyable!

'Super Best Friends Club', is perhaps a double edged sword though. What makes it equally appealing to some listeners and an ultimate turn-off for others is how big it is on noise and rambunctiousness! What you have here though is six guys who self-admittedly like to perform semi-naked and sum themselves up with the following words “optimism, nudity, bodypaint, frantic dance routines and blissed out pop”. With that insightfulness in mind, it would be rude not to give them a listen, wouldn't it?

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