Album Review: Superfood - Bambino | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Album Review: Superfood – Bambino

Felix Page reviews the stellar new album from Superfood, the Birmingham band destined for stardom.

In an age where ‘pop music’ is an all-encompassing term that comprises everything from R&B to techno, funk, rap and even Meghan Trainor, it’s becoming increasingly common for once-indie artists to explore different subcultures and styles in order to, not only define their own genre, but to provide ‘something for everyone’.

Enter Superfood – a Liberal Arts student’s wet dream.

Shouting and stomping their way from Birmingham to your bedroom with their debut album Don’t Say That in 2014, they quickly established themselves as pioneers of the small-venue Alternative Rock resurgence that’s taken place over the last few years. Their songs were at once perfect ‘hairbrush-in-the-mirror material’ and mosh pit perfection. Now sharing a record label with bigger names like Wolf Alice and The 1975, and not suffering from any loss of enthusiasm that one might expect as a result of having halved the size of the band, Superfood’s new album Bambino is anything but the disappointing sequel that can so often follow a successful first effort.

Lead single 'Double Dutch' was released back in March to widespread critical acclaim and helped the down-to-earth duo secure a spot on some of the most revered festival line-ups in the country, from Reading and Leeds to Radio 1’s Big Weekend. While unarguably less ‘unplugged’ and stripped back as their earlier works, the record is everything Dom and Ryan stand for. Catchy and repetitive refrains, delivered in a charmingly unenthusiastic monotone, contrast with the upbeat synth effects and cheery vocal samples that have become a mainstay of their repertoire. Although the sound isn’t exactly their normal fodder, you’d struggle to miss Dom’s classic 90’s style vocal effects, often sounding like he’s (quite literally) phoning it in. Of course he isn’t though, this album is anything but lazy. 'Where’s the Bass Amp?' is loud, shouty and funky. It’s like they recorded this in 1995 but forgot about it until now, yet even with the keyboards, drum machines and synths, it feels so fresh.

Catchy and repetitive refrains, delivered in a charmingly unenthusiastic monotone, contrast with the upbeat synth effects and cheery vocal samples.

The production is flawless, not at all what you’d expect from a band so accustomed to small concert venues and low budget recordings. Need a Little Spider is crisp, clean and professional yet still fantastically unrefined. Dom “oooohs” and “aaaaahs” over a climatic and suspenseful bassline that drops into a slow, drum-less and well-deserved break from the noise, that is unmistakably Superfood.

'Shadow' is bound to be a big hit at the concerts. More rock-oriented than the rest of the tunes on offer, it manages to be impeccably organised yet purposely messy. It’s the perfect preface to 'Clo Park', which relies more heavily on improvisation than anything the band have released before. This is perhaps their most innovative work so far, and as it fades out to the sound of a Dire-Straits style guitar solo, you can really appreciate where the new sounds are coming from in terms of influence.

Following in the footsteps of groundbreaking duos like The White Stripes and Royal Blood, Dom and Ryan aren’t letting their music reflect the size of the band.
These thirteen works of undefinable art are best summed up in the aptly named 'Unstoppable' in which Dom chants that he feels exactly that, over a beat that’s almost a hybrid between reggae, rock and calypso. And, indeed, now they really are unstoppable. Following in the footsteps of groundbreaking duos like The White Stripes and Royal Blood, Dom and Ryan aren’t letting their music reflect the size of the band. The mixing desk has been the third member for this album, and it’s helped the other two show off their talents like never before. No two tracks sound the same and seeing them on their tour in October is set to be one of the musical highlights of the year.

It’ll be a shame when Superfood hit the big time and stop playing 500-person capacity venues and sign to a big label, but you can’t deny it will be well-deserved because every track on this album has the potential to be a stadium anthem.

'Bambino' is available to stream now. Superfood play Birmingham's Mama Roux's on October 11th.

I listen to songs and sometimes wear a funny hat around the house.



Published

15th September 2017 at 9:30 am



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