Album Reviews Music

Musical Advent Calendar #7 SATURATION – A look at Brockhampton and what they represent

On the blistering first song of SATURATION II ‘GUMMY’, Dom McLennon laments “They hate me when I’m myself, I can’t barter with that”.  This is essentially the mission statement of Brockhampton. Producing music from their shared house (The Factory) at a rate of knots, the 15 member boyband preach self acceptance over truly ingenious and self produced instrumentals. Likely the only band with 2 entries in the AOTY charts, the sheer volume and quality of the songs released by the band in the last half a year has been quite literally hard to comprehend.

Stemming from high school friendships, a Kanye West internet forum, and a whole lot of ambition, the producers, rappers, photographers and videographers that make up Brockhampton decided to up sticks and buy a house together in Hollywood. In the fantastic Youtube series made by Henock Sileshi ‘Dreams Die Young’, members share the thinking behind taking this risk in order to ‘live out their dreams’. As head of operations, Kevin Abstract’s vision for Brockhampton is simply to create everything he has ever dreamed of, and for his 14 housemates to do the same.

Back in July, from the sparks of their accelerated post-teen angst rose SATURATION, a critically acclaimed and adrenaline filled project packed with 14 full songs that introduce us to main vocalists Kevin, Dom, Matt Champion, Merlyn Young, Ameer vann, Joba and Bearface. I remember downloading the album off a recommendation before I took off on holiday, at every opportunity I could get plugging my earphones in and I would, without internet, try to piece together the histories, mind set, and ambitions of each character from their lyrics. Every member has a rich story that is presented on the album and only by roughly the 100th play of ‘MILK’ did I have the chance to clock my absolute obsession with the stylistics and personality of the band.

Brockhampton ascended their humble beginnings as a bunch of creatives living far into the Southern reaches of America, taking over Twitter for the summer, comfortably releasing enough content to please their new cult-like fan base (I include myself in this). They appeared to take no time to dwell in this success either, instead continuing on their trajectory and writing what would become SATURATION II. Not only this but the video and general media output of the group is so slick and clean, gives me that feeling of aesthetic completion like only a well organised Instagram feed can. Or the 2014-era Wickes adverts, phwoar.

SATURATION II came around after a slew of excitement building videos and was received equally well by the press and their ever building fan base. Building on the last effort with added confidence in the producers more eccentric instrumentation, we receive another refined set of stories and ideas. Songs like ‘JELLO’ and ‘SWEET’, a personal favourite, give us barnstorming sets of verses that could light up any live venue. ‘FIGHT’ details some of the members’ struggles and defiance in the face of racism in America, while ‘SUMMER’ is a slow ballad, pining over warm nights and fleeting attractions. Variety is aplenty with this project.

As I write this the group have just announced the third volume of the SATURATION series to be released December the 15th. Plus, there is a box-set of all three volumes on pre-order AND a feature length film on the way. To me their impressive multi outlet approach to art makes them more than just a boyband (which they command to be categorised as). BROCKHAMPTON becomes essentially a medium in of itself for exorcising the demons, and expressing the dreams, of 15 friends who want, and right now need, to be heard by the world of today.

Rowan Lees

 

Listen to some BROCKHAMPTON in our end of year playlist!

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