The second album Loveblows from London-based quintet Super Best Friends Club is melodic, vast and impressive. Characterised by spacious instrumental sections, it is consistently sweet and lilting, building multiple layers of sound to orchestral intensity.
The quintet of Jordan Copeland on bass, Jean de Talhouët Gtr on synth, Joshua Green and Maxwell Hallet on percussion and drums and Jonah Brody on multiple instruments develops a progressive sound. Here lyrics and guitars push each other along ever so slightly to the point that the clouds part for a moment and they shine. Sometimes however the full orchestral production that results from this layering, in combination with the lyrics, becomes a little didactic.
The intro track ‘Self-Destruct’s haunting flute gives into a warm rambling intro. This is followed by almost raving lyrics, which while having a poetic quality, sound a little like an on screen freak out about the responsibilities of a modern age, and weigh down the arrangements.
At times the poetry of the lyrics matches the looped layering quality of the music and then it works, in ‘Ache’ the lyrics ring out “But don’t say I don’t need it, if I say I need it, if something in me needs to feel it.” ‘Ache’ starts with a series of crescendos and decrescendos, imploring us to understand the ebb and flow of emotion, to accept its bittersweet mutability, without denying the dark side, “so let the feelings ache a little more”.
‘Love Is A Morning’ has an almost ‘el rancho’ western rhythm, it sounds like a race across a prairie with repetitive galloping triplets creating a feeling of growing intensity. It’s a fun track but the variety of vocal and musical techniques sometimes gets exhausting, starting with scatting and dramatic pauses which only intensify in the next track ‘Humans’.
‘Beetroot’ is more upbeat with kind of raspberry drum trills and lots of reverb. It has an overall dreamy melody but as with everything on this album it is more musically complicated and orchestral than a standard shoegaze or dreampop. Fading out “no time, no time, no time, no time” – there is a sense of how many elements they are blending elements together. This builds up to ‘Put Your Bed’, one of the highlights, with enough dawdling guitar and instrumental overtones to be properly classed as psychedelic.
It is a very well made album that very successfully communicates the band's core message which is to appreciate with tenderness the sadder moments of life, and find in them a way of connecting with others. All of the songs are beautifully made, but Super Best Friends Club could probably pare it down a bit for the next release – featuring fewer techniques per song - without losing any of the dulcet atmosphere.
6Philippa Nicole Barr's Score