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Record Highlight — Superhuman Happiness

escape-velocity

Superhuman Happiness create music for a dance party inhabited by the emotionally complicated. Led by Stuart Bogie—a perpetually in-demand songwriter, arranger and performer whose resume includes stints with Arcade Fire, David Byrne, Iron & Wine, TV On The Radio and Antibalas—the Brooklyn-based ensemble construct instantly infectious and relentlessly rhythmic records that makes bodies move. Underlying the groove, however, are lyrical concepts that take a long look at the human condition. Their latest LP, Escape Velocity, is a seven-track effort that explores how human made technologies inversely shape our internal emotional landscapes. Songs like “VHS” and Super 8” merge broad influences like ‘80s dance pop and ‘70s prog, while lyrically examining how various media used in storytelling and communication impact how we see our own memories and derive a sense of meaning as people. The damaged art disco of “Date & Time” addresses the addictive aspects of social media with the refrain “we’re going nowhere clicking on those pretty pictures.” If this sounds overly heady, the album’s soaring vocal harmonies, celebratory handclaps, lush synths and crisp rhythms let it be known that joy and contemplation can be mutually inclusive.

In the writing and recording of Escape Velocity, Bogie and founding member Eric Biondo reconstructed the band to feature vocalist Andrea Diaz, whose vocal approach take the songs to new heights of expression. They also called upon old friends saxophonist Colin Stetson, violinist Sarah Neufeld and drummer Joe Russo to contribute. Once described as “physical cinematic dance rock,” Superhuman Happiness push the proclamation even further on these seven songs.  In physics, escape velocity is the speed at which the sum of an object’s kinetic energy and its gravitational potential energy is equal to zero. It is the speed needed to “break free” from the gravitational attraction of a massive body. Superhuman Happiness subscribe to the idea that music and art, when brought into our hearts, minds and bodies can provide human lives this same propulsive force.

 

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