Superorganism, Chai Band: Arts Club, Liverpool

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Superorganism

Superoganism have downloaded themselves off your hard drives and into the real world, Getintothis’ Matthew Eland was there to check your GDPR settings.

Superorganism have been all over their world since their last time in Liverpool.

Back then, at Sound City, we were immediately smitten with their superconnected, technicolour, HTML pop.

The space-whale visuals, the synchronised dance moves, the maximalist production of their debut album – all screeching cars and self-help voiceovers and other collaged sound effects – were a breath of fresh air.

Holding it together was super-cool singer Orono, who doesn’t even look of legal drinking age, yet strolls around the stage as if the chaos she oversees is the most natural thing in the world.

We were hooked: here was the perfect pop band for our twenty-four hour present-shock panopticon, the antidote to an increasingly bleak 2018, style AND substance for a generation who’ve never been so connected and never been so confused.

But questions lingered.

Would we find the same band – all carnival and colour and optimism – at the tail end of their never-ending tour of everywhere? Would the droll deadpanning have transmuted into cynicism?

And would we get a glimpse of where Superorganism are headed? The album is almost a perfect ten, with only the meandering, disjointed Nai’s March a poorly plum in the punnet of carefully crafted tunes; did this indicate a dearth of ideas, an inability to replicate that first flourishing of creativity in a newly formed band, a trap that’s befallen countless predecessors?

And more importantly: would we find out what Superorganism even ARE?

First on are Chai, all the way from Japan. They’re high energy and barely even stop between songs, singer Mana bouncing and pumping her fists throughout.

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They may be wearing matching pink outfits but there’s nothing twee or cute about their tunes, which pound and pulse somewhere on the Richter Scale between The Rapture and CSS. The only downside is the fluctuating bass sound, which seems to go up and down at random. On the strength of this gig though, debut album Pink is worthy of further investigation.

The headliners begin their set in the usual fashion, with a projection of their enigmatic eighth member excusing his absence by explaining that he’s become one with the internet. Then the others stroll on one by one, shrouded in sequined gowns and holding glowing orbs, like the Blade-Runner-era Wicker Man remake that we’ll never get to see.

Last to emerge is Orono, who’s hastily scoffing the last of her noodle box (educated guess: Wok and Go) and swigging from a can of cider.

As they open with their self-titled song, we wonder again: what even is Superorganism? Synchronised dance moves to the left, synths and drums to the right. Conventional guitar lines are eschewed by Harry at the back in favour of manipulated slides and Salvador Dali guitar effects. And then there’s Orono at the front, chastising and bantering with the audience while also occasionally forgetting her lines.

They’re at their most conventionally indie on tracks like Night Time and Reflections on the Screen, which contrasts well with the big-production pop of The Prawn Song and Nobody Cares.

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Sadly, as expected, there’s no new material; instead there’s a Q&A session where Orono sings happy birthday and lets someone in the front row have a sip of her cider.

The audience laps it up throughout, but it only really kicks off at the end when Orono encourages everyone in the room to do a lean-down-and-jump-back-up dance move. But hey, it’s a Tuesday night; the weekend and true reckless abandon is still but a faltering twinkle in the distance.

Superorganism are as fun and fresh as they were the last time, but our questions remain unanswered. They’re as much of an enigma as ever.

Where they go from here is anyone’s guess, but for now, there’s a globe to circumnavigate.

Images by Getintothis’ Chris Flack

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