Anyone concerned that music is ‘dumbing down’ ought to listen to Super Best Friends Club... but you won’t necessarily warm to them. The problem with these new nerd bands – see also California’s Local Natives – is that the classic prog lexicon of playing everything, all at the same time, is complicated by a whole new family of instruments.
Juddering synth-drums, loops and electronic washes jostle with brass and Hammond organ to create a sound which, though fearfully accomplished, is hard to engage with. They’re not without humour (see Yes You Are, an elegy on going to school, and Sunshine, Super Megatroni, an affectionate satire on the 60s psyche) but there’s a facelessness to this music.
It’s not cool to have one singer at the moment – instead, you’ve got three or four layered up with a heavy echo, which makes for a sound like Gregorian chant filtered through a house party 100 yards down the street. Anyone seeking out young prog brains in a more charismatic setting would be better off with Canterbury’s Syd Arthur.