Superbloom has done a great job of hinting at their potential through their releases. This first full length is the answer to all of the previews. Over Pollen‘s 12 songs, Superbloom showcase their skills inside the grunge rock genre and outside with a deft precision to offer one of the best albums in 2021.
Grunge’s popularity dwindled as other genres took stage, but there’s a nostalgia and classicism to heavily distorted and crunchy guitars, a deep and winding bass line, and drum rhythms that accent the end of every verse. Superbloom are able to accomplish all these elements while adding even more. “1994” might start as a standard grunge track, but as it progresses, you get a different perspective on the genre. It starts slowing down, giving you more time to dwell in the verse, and eventually blooming into a post-rock sample.
“Mary on a Chain” is the highlight single. It is Superbloom’s heart and shows off the band perfectly. The vocals follow the rhythms closely while not simply hanging on for a ride. Everything is in melodic sync with each instrument working together. Honestly, “Mary on a Chain” is a perfect song. It continues its energy from start to finish and never lets you go. “Leash” is another stand out song. The mixture of rhythms from direct 4/4 verse to sitting on the back beat, it makes your head move to the beat.
12 songs for a debut carries a lot of potential for missteps, but I don’t think any track on Pollen is weak. The slower songs like “Glass Candy Wrapper” feel like outliers on the first listen, but going through the album again, it fits with the overall album tone. Superbloom also isn’t attached to faster tempos and explore even more atmospheric ideas like on “Worms.” It reminds me a lot of Citizen and Nothing, two bands that I like a lot.
Describing every song on Superbloom’s Pollen would do it a disservice. Listeners, grunge enthusiasts or rock fans alike, need to listen to Pollen because it captures a past music genre, but doesn’t let that define the music overall. There’s a lot of emotion in the tracks and while 42 minutes might seem like a big investment, it’s definitely one worth making the time for.