Superfood ‘Don’t Say That’ – Review

27 Oct

There is a small Britpop revival going on at the moment, inflicted on us by people who were teenagers in its heyday and now hold positions of influence at record labels, blogs and festivals and perpetuated by people too young to remember it first time around. I myself fall in the unusual position of being too young to remember the golden years (lets say 1992-1996) but old enough to remember the downfall (1997-2001). My first memories of Oasis are watching them yawn their way through ‘Do You Know What I Mean’ on Top of the pops and hearing my grandparents discuss the Gallagher brothers’ drunken antics, at the dinner table. Otherwise I mostly remember faceless bands, whose names I never knew, but who clogged the airwaves, Saturday morning kids shows and adverts, and who are now rightly forgotten.

Superfood are roughly the same age as me, and probably have the same experience of Britpop. Unlike me, they retain some nostalgia, and/or genuine love for this malinged period of British pop. To them, it’s more than an inspiration or an influence, it’s their lifeblood. In fact, if you’d never heard of Superfood, and I told you ‘Don’t Say That’ was released in 1996, you would probably believe me. They don’t go down the obvious Blur/Oasis route either (though you will hear nods to those bands at various points), strangely, but interestingly, they seem more keen on Supergrass, Superfurry Animals – basically any 90s group with Super in the band name.

Superfood hail from the B-Town scene, which thrives on revivalism. It has already given us shamelessly generic but endearingly quirky debuts from Peace, Jaws and Swim Deep. Peace ploughed baggy, Jaws, Dream pop and Swim Deep, Synth-pop (all transmitted through a druggy post-libertines haze). Superfood’s weapon of choice is Britpop, and they rarely veer from that mid to late 90s alt-rock vibe. Their TOTAL dedication to this sound would be an undoing if they weren’t so damn charming about how they present themselves. OK, they have NOTHING unique or interesting to say, like nothing, at all, but without the worry of being meaningful they manage to completely let themselves go. The lyrics are cheesy and good fun, the melodies are bright and cheerful and the production is playful. Songs like ‘Tv’ and ‘Melting’ breeze along and you’re a better man than me if you manage to stop yourself humming along.

‘Superfood’ (the song not the band) has more sticky hooks than anything in the top ten at the moment, from the refrain of the title, the ‘duba duba dohhhs’, to the opening beat which is processed to sound JUST like the beat from 5IVE’s ‘If You Got The Feeling.’ And that’s all before you get to the chorus itself – “YOU’RE ALWAYS HUNGRRRRYYYYY.” Even more hook intensive is recent single ‘Right on Satilite’ which diverts just enough from 1996 to pick up some tips from 1966 psychadelia. Superfood are blatant in their pop intent and they write the type of skyscraping choruses you can imagine becoming hits – just maybe in another decade.

Two leftfield instrumentals (imaginatively titled I and II) can’t disguise the fact that ‘Don’t Say That’ is a superficial and completely one dimensional album. The second half in particular feels on the verge of tipping over in to a bland pastiche, something they prevent, but only marginally. One thing all those bad 90’s groups were at least half-decent at was writing lights-aloft power ballads and ‘Don’t Say That’ would have benefited from one of those, as well as something a little quieter and more subtle. But subtlety isn’t Superfood’s strength; at the moment they’re too loud and enthusiastic to write a “subtle” song. And maybe that’s no bad thing, youthful exuberance is lacking in the world of oh-so-serious-indie-rock at the moment, and Superfood, with their day-glo choruses and cheesy lyrics, do a good job of brightening the scene up. And personally they make me look back more fondly on an aspect of my childhood I’d tried to ignore. Maybe Menswear weren’t so bad afterall?


7.5/10

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