Brockhampton has owned 2017. They started releasing material in the summer, but you might as give them the whole thing. They are a boyband, but not in the natural sense. There is no huge machine backing them, and they have no fancy choreography. But they do have talent and chemistry. A lot of it. Though they are taking over the world one insane video at a time, it is always nice to give a proper introduction to those who have been sleeping on their exponential growth.
Brockhampton is a general group of creatives. Props are to given to the producers Romil Hemnanl, Jabari Manwa, and Kiko Merley. The vocalists, Kevin Abstract, Ameer Vann, Dom McClennon, Matt Champion, Merlyn Wood, Joba, and Bearface, all use their individual gifts and personalities to make genius songs over amazingly distinct instrumentals on Saturation III.
On Saturation I, Brockhampton can onto the scene with unusual sounds and excellent hooks. Saturation II focused more aggressive lyrics and discussing popular topics in the social climate. Saturation III is a fair accumulation of both. Brockhampton finds a way to make every song enjoyable, and they leave listeners with things to think about. The songs are meticulously structured and every member’s personality and purpose is highlighted. There is no unnecessary member. Most of all of the tracks include vocal contributions from every single member, and each of them have their own shining moments.
The blaring brass of the intro track “BOOGIE” immediately catches your attention. It may take repeated listens to figure out what’s going on, but the more you listen, the more enjoyable it becomes. Loud, rapid-fire verses will have you recklessly bumping your head. The onslaught is similar to “HEAT” and “GUMMY,” which are the intros from their two previous LPs. It’s a mindless hype track that sure to be well received by concert audiences.
Brockhampton showcases how well they can switch things up on “BLEACH,” one of the best songs of the year. The amazing hook by guest feature Ryan Beauty gives it tremendous life. The group adds a slight R&B flair to their style. Candid verses of hopelessness in the present and past are tackled by verses of hopefulness of the future, Ameer Vann raps “Don’t let God see me, I got a lot of demons / And I been sleeping with ‘em. Dom McLennon questions “Do you make mistakes or do you make a change?” The song is very transformative. The tail end of the song has a great autotuned refrain by Kevin Abstract followed by a short yet fulfilling verse sung by Bearface.
“Johnny” is secretly one of the best on Saturation III. It is surprisingly very simple but is still direct. The song feels like an early pause within the album, a moment of reflection. What makes Brockhampton so interesting is you always learn something new about a member of the group. Joba performs arguably the best verse of the album. He goes on to confess. “It seems I’m destined to fall apart when I’m depressed / It’s all a test, scream at God from my bedside / I glue my hands together, life’s got me hog-tied.” There’s a beautiful saxophone during the instrumental. The scratch CD sound really adds a strong genuine tone to the track. Every verse laid down is personal.
They get pretty adventurous during the LP. “HOTTIE is an interesting space rock track that barely fits the norms of hip-hop. It is to be appreciated that the members continuously only do what they are good at but can still surprise. The second half of the of the 11th track, “NATION” will grab you by the throat. The otherworldly instrumental will lead the listener to wonder what the hell is going on. It sounds similar to “Chamber of Reflection by Mac Demarco if a reference is needed. Many things happen in the timespan of the track by a very memorable part is Merlyn Wood screaming the refrain, “African Power!”
“STAINS” is basically a recap of how they came into the scene without warning in 2017. Despite having a continually growing fan base, they aren’t immune to criticism, but they know the difference between that and hate. Matt Champion has his shining moment with his somewhat morbid verse “And if I didn’t know y’all maybe I would have a desk job/ Ticking ’till I off myself.” As expected, the album ends with a spectacular rock ballad by Bearface, jut like the prior two album closers. But there’s another surprise. The closer “TEAM” is two tracks within one. The second half of the song is a funk influenced rap song. It’s somewhat sassy and groovy, which is what Brockhampton is great at being.
Brockhampton caps off a stellar year with their third release. The boyband continues to raise their ceiling. At this rate, they may not even have one.
Stream Saturation III on Apple Music and Spotify.