Superdrone – ∇
Written by Mark Anderson on April 14, 2021
Figureheads of the new wave of British shoegaze, Southampton three-piece Superdrone have just released their fifth album to the world. The title is an enigmatic inverted triangle, the sign for water. I can’t wait to dive in so let’s drop the needle.
Aptly, our introduction to this album is called “Descent into the Blue”. Immediately you get a feel for the scale of the music on show here. This feels cinematic, widescreen even. Dreamy vocals play over a rhythmic piano and skip-beat drums. If Superdrone were trying to get my attention then mission accomplished.
“Starchaser” keeps that grand scale going. The band have captured a natural world vibe and made the soundtrack to your favourite movie. I love this song; it leaves you feeling really exhilarated but relaxed.
Easing in next is “We are One”. Immediately you can hear the bands ambition and lust for experimentation. The vocal treatment is particularly stunning. The chord change in the chorus gets me in the feels every time and is effective every time. This is some tightly arranged song writing folks.
“Spherisphere” takes the pace down a notch but continues on that path of experimentation. Again, the vocals have been given this beguiling treatment that grabs your attention and sucks you in. Listening to this with eyes closed feels like flying through a clear blue sky. It’s hypnotic and blissful. Give in to its sonic charms and you’ll be flying too.
Ever ones to pull the rug from under you, Superdrone drop the pace again with the gorgeous “Eternala”. The easy and lazy comparison here would be to the Icelandic gods Sigur Ros. I think it’s the piano that makes my mind wander Reykjavik way. The song is so much more than that. The now trademark vocals stamp their mark on “Eternala” along with a wonderfully complimentary guitar line. Like the best music, we are transported in our minds by the song. That’s the highest compliment I can give.
Ratcheting the tempo up again with a psychedelic guitar introduction is “Blood Sun Sky”. Man, this song is huge! I can envision this anthem being played on the biggest of stages. Sunset at Glastonbury would be perfect. It has shades of early Verve with an orchestral feel.
“Morning Light” throws us a curveball with a more pop sensibility. It feels like The Avalanches were involved somehow. The song’s production values, punchy backbeat and pulsing bassline keep us hooked in. This would be a sure-fire chart hit for the band if released as a single.
“Indigo” feels like a musical response to “Morning Light”. A steady down tempo beat with a spacey, psyched out guitar providing the platform for blissed out vocals. This could be a Café del Mar favourite this summer.
A lovely picked out guitar line leads us into the light as a feather “Silverstream”. The interplay between the two vocal lines really lifts this song and makes it stand out. I’m reminded of some of Lemon Jelly’s early work from the KY period in particular or Delakota’s glorious debut.
“Las Honnesor” has dark trip hop backbone with a David Arnold flourish. I could hear this song sitting quite happily in a Bond film. You know, that bit where Bond is looking all sullen after escaping the villain but losing the girl. It’s a masterpiece of creating a mood through different textures and dynamics. The rises and falls are expertly timed and executed throughout. The song fades all too soon into the final track.
The closing track again taps back into that earthly tone we last heard in “Eternala”. Eerily droning strings and a minimal piano are accompanied by a chiming glockenspiel. This feels final. What a way to end this journey, and it has been a journey.
I know it’s an overused metaphor that you hear all the time but, on this album, Superdrone have taken us away into another world. I can heartily recommend this as a headphones experience. That immersive feel you get in the cans really brings this album to life. This is an experience and one I am so glad I can go on again and again. I like this world, now if you’ll excuse me. I’m off to dive in again.
Superdrone’s fifth album ∇ is available now from Bandcamp.