Five years after they formed, the London electropop band Superorganism have released their sophomore full-length album, World Wide Pop. With production assistance from John Hill (M.I.A., Santigold) and Stuart David Price (Madonna, Pet Shop Boys), the group’s latest collection delivers a baker’s dozen new songs that rang in style from kitschy Shibuya-kei (“Black Hole Baby”, “Solar System”, “Into the Sun”) to thoughtful indie pop (“Crushed.zip”, “Don’t Let the Colony Collapse”, “Put Down Your Phone”).
Superorganism’s return finds their core membership scaled back from eight to five, but the new record makes up for the band’s missing personnel with guests such as Stephen Malkmus, Chai, Gen Hoshino and others.
World Wide Pop opens with “Black Hole Baby”, an upbeat number that features a crowd-sung chorus of “Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back,” as well as spoken testimonials by Superorganism’s celebrity fans, including Elton John and Josh Homme. The production throughout is consistently slick with the overall mood being best described as deliriously joyful and festive. This isn’t to say Superorganism can’t address serious topics as they do on “Put Down Your Phone”. Here, the French indie pop songstress Pi Ja Ma offers vocal assistance as the band takes on the founder of Amazon with lyrics like, “As you’re listening to this, on your shitty little dumb device, Jeff Bezos is making 3K a second.”
Along with the disco-punk band Chai, Pi Ja Ma appears again on World Wide Pop’s lead single, “Teenager”. With its catchy chorus of “Teenager, teenager, I’m gonna grow up and be a teenager,” the song makes for a nice early standout moment in the sequence. “It’s Raining” is one of two songs that feature Stephen Malkmus but, unlike “Into the Sun”, which includes Malkmus’ guitar and his utterance of only a few sparse lines, “It’s Raining” has the Pavement frontman affecting a sing-songy style for an entire verse that includes rapped lines like, “Cloppity, clop, clop, clop, go the hooves, drippity, drop, drop rain on the roofs.”
With its myriad guests and features, Superorganism’s sound on World Wide Pop is often reminiscent of The Go! Team and the first two albums by the Canadian collective Bran Van 3000. Comparing Superorganism to these two acts isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does intone the listening experience can be at times a bit chaotic, with the record’s considerable cast extinguishing any opportunities for the showcasing of a single band member’s personality. Additionally, if you’re looking for moments of gentle sentimentality within these songs, you’re not going to find any. But maybe that’s the point. After all, as the record’s production team, title, and cover art suggest, World Wide Pop is an album designed for a fun night with friends on the dancefloor. Enjoy yourself and try not to take it too seriously.