Birmingham, and in particular, Digbeth. You’ll never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. In fact, come to think of it, I might be confusing that with Mos Eisley Spaceport. If so I apologise, but whilst Mos Eisley is a diverse, albeit violent and seedy fictional locale, Digbeth, and indeed Birmingham is itself a culturally diverse city, whose rich heritage allowed a heady and somewhat tropical scene to formulate, headed by the likes of Peace and Swim Deep.
One such band ever on the periphery of the B-Town boom, are Superfood, and whilst many of their contemporaries rushed to release debuts, some of whom are even on album number two, Don’t Say That marks the beginning of Superfood’s foray in to full-length territory.
Much like their contemporaries, the band combine elements of psychedelia with a more traditional indie aesthetic; off-kilter vocals and abrasive guitars are par for the course, whilst subscribing to the age-old adage of ‘baggy is better’; tracks such as the anarchic, eponymous ‘Superfood’ or ‘You Can Believe’ are entrenched in early-90s ephemera, influenced by the likes of Black Grape and early Stone Roses releases.
Having seen Superfood before, supporting the ill-fated Tribes in a show that they well and truly stole, it’s a little disappointing to find that on record the band seem to lack the same levels of vigour they exuded live. The characteristic looseness is still present, and is, paradoxically, as tight as you could ask for, but in tightening up and rounding off edges, the band have managed to elude the spark that endeared me to them in the first place.
That isn’t to say Don’t Say That is an album without merit however. Slower numbers such as ‘Don’t Say That’ or ‘Palisades’ really take one by surprise, eschewing the bands more chaotic side in favour of more refined, reigned-in indie-pop, the latter in particular segueing in and out of a woozy, almost-narcotic dream-pop by way of funky afro-beat percussion.
The fusion of styles and myriad influences do make for a refreshing listen, but after several plays the weaker moments do begin to blend in to one another, which is a shame given the semi-tapped potential that bubbles underneath it all.
Don’t Say That is by no means a bad album however, and the time Superfood took to release the record means that they already have a burgeoning horde of fans eager to lap up any material they should release. Even with that alone, the band have achieved more than some of their contemporaries, who floundered after releasing a hurried demo or debut before sinking silently; it’s just a shame that the urgency and energy with which they play live has been lost in translation, but it does give us another reason to go and see the band live.