“Saturation II” is the latest release by up and coming boyband Brockhampton, and isthe follow up to “Saturation I” which was released this July. In addition to their strong internet fandom, the band has recently had an influx of press from their reality show, “American Boyband,” on Vice. The group will be playing two sold out shows in Washington D.C. on September 15.
The weak impression of the first track, “Gummy” may give the listener doubts about the the rest of the album. However, it is quickly redeemed by the fourth track, “Teeth,” which is soloed by Ameer Vann who passionately tells of his troubled childhood and path to stardom with strong lyrics such as, “I got my finger on the trigger, I’m a project baby/A free lunch felon, and I’m hungry every minute/Empty stomach, weed smoke can’t fill it.”
There are several tracks that highlight Brockhampton’s strengths as individuals, including “Teeth,” “Jesus” and “Scene I.” Along with these individual tracks are just as strong group tracks, such as “Chick,” “Junky” and “Sweet.” Because of the diversity of the group, these tracks speak on an array of subjects, such as drugs, crime, homophobia, family issues and mental health.
It is worth noting that the entirety of this album, with the exceptions of “Swamp” and “Summer,” boast the efforts of producer and band member, Romil Hemnani. Despite the repetition built into almost every track, the album lacks monotony due to the Spanish spoken word breaks provided by web-developer Rob Ontenient, and the use of different vocal effects during each chorus.
The ringleader of the group, Kevin Abstract, is the glue of this album. Without his catchy hooks and personal, heartfelt compositions, “Saturation II” would very well be just another mixtape. Since 2014 he has released two solo albums, and recently played the Afropunk festival in Brooklyn.
Even though Abstract’s hooks are the backbone of songs like “Swamp,” “Gumba” and “Sunny,” the especially strong verses of members Merlyn Wood, Vann, and Matt Champion keep listeners engaged in the music.
Certain singles of this album are more provoking when combined with the imagery in their corresponding videos. For instance, in the video for “Junky” Abstract raps about his struggles being black and gay while other band members dance around him in ballerina costumes, and during a close-up, Vann tells of drug abuse issues with orange firelight illuminating his face.
The album ends with sweet, poppy “Summer,” in which band member ‘Bearface’ sings soft, nostalgic lyrics about being in love with a boy: “In the heat of the summer/ You know that you should be my boy.” The chilled out tempo and somewhat angsty mood of this song are reminiscent of contemporary R&B artists, Steve Lacy and Daniel Caesar.
“Saturation II” is an album that may not click with listeners at first, especially because of its dark themes and unorthodox approach to rap. However, the self-proclaimed boy band has created a complex artwork that you may find yourself listening to on repeat. Its universal themes and overall well-crafted songs show that motley group Brockhampton has more to offer than what meets the eye, and their upcoming album “Saturation III” should be on your radar.