Super Water Sympathy
Hydrogen Child


3.8
excellent

Review

by Davey Boy STAFF
April 21st, 2013 | 53 replies | 10,057 views


Release Date: 04/23/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Dip your toes into some water-pop.

In terms of enticing interest, press kits for musicians can run the gamut of effectiveness these days. Needing to be concise, but sufficiently distinctive, such write-ups should keep the reader awake without inducing hysterical fits of laughter (although examples of the latter sure can be fun to read). With all the genre-mixing in existence – and in vogue - currently, describing a band’s sound can be one way to differentiate from peers, with self-proclaimed genres popping up frequently. If labeling your group as “death metal” or “funeral doom metal” isn’t getting the job done, then why not delineate it as “cremation metal”? One such self-labeling which caught my eye recently was that of “water pop”, by Louisianan quintet Super Water Sympathy. Would the vocals on their second LP ‘Hydrogen Child’ be delivered from under-water, or would the music be so ambient that you could hear the splendor of the waterfalls emanating from the speakers? Thankfully, neither is the case.

As one can probably guess, the designation of water pop is more gimmick than insightful. Sure, there are some water-based lyrics infused into the album’s themes, as well as borderline ambient use of keys, guitar and orchestral arrangements. However, the term seems to have been created, if only because it sounds better than “alternative indie pop-rock”. Thankfully, it is only the foot in the door (or should that be “toes in the water”) genre label which is gimmicky here, since the record itself is a welcome revelation of a band that should be destined for big things. One need only listen to opener and lead single ‘Uh Oh!’ for proof; a bouncy and deceptively catchy tune where each instrument gets a chance to shine without dominating proceedings. Providing the framework for the eleven tracks which follow, driving bass and cavernous drums provide a proficient backdrop for keys that twinkle and shimmering guitar melodies.

As is the case with many a female-led rock outfit, the most distinctive – and ultimately essential – component for success is the lead vocals... And it is with Ansley Hughes, where Super Water Sympathy have a true point of difference. Impressively delivering equal parts quirkiness, power and range, Hughes has the versatility to successfully deliver pop, rock and all points in between. Her effectively scratchy inflection works a treat on the playful ‘Sunday School Dress’ and catchy sing-along that is ‘Avalon’, while the best showcase for her voice are piano-driven tracks such as ‘Pipe Dream’, ‘When You’re Not Around’ and beat-less closer ‘Magnolia Parade’. The flow of her vocals is often a hooky strength, even if the reliance on rhymes occasionally results in some misplaced cheesiness. Furthermore, while the lyrics occasionally tend toward vocabulary spouting nonsense to heighten imagery, one cannot help but be captivated by their beguiling nature.

Much like Hughes’ vocals, Super Water Sympathy are accessible, yet far from cookie-cutter... Similarly, their sound is familiar, yet irritatingly difficult to pinpoint comparisons. Well-produced by Brit Cam Blackwood, ‘Hydrogen Child’ sounds crisp and cohesive, delivering some exquisite textures with more than sufficient diversity. Most promising – and equally frustrating - is the fact that many of Hydrogen Child’s shortcomings could easily be refined... The twelve tracks could do with some tightening in terms of song duration, there is a tendency to lean a little too often towards a mid-tempo pace, while the haunting melody of ‘Cantalopah’ and reprise of sorts that is ‘Pistol’ feel more like superior interludes unnecessarily stretched out to four minutes. Encouragingly, these all amount to rather minor quibbles in the grand scheme of things, since ‘Hydrogen Child’ ultimately casts Super Water Sympathy as a rare beast: a unique, creative and consistent band with genuine pop smarts and mainstream potential.

Recommended Tracks: Uh Oh!, Pipe Dream, Avalon & Sunday School Dress.



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user ratings (27)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 21st 2013



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Yes people, I'm still alive.

Video for the lead single 'Uh Oh!' is on the blog: http://www.sputnikmusic.com/blog/2013/04/21/super-water-sympathy-uh-oh/


Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 21st 2013



10010 Comments


DAVEY BOY DAVEY BOY! =]

The term water pop is certainly more pleasing to the ears than the accurate one you mentioned. Genres are a funny thing.

Digging: Deniro Farrar - Rebirth

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 21st 2013



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

That they are OS (without the S anymore)... Could be interesting when/if Sputnik gets more soon.

Cygnatti
April 21st 2013



21349 Comments


daveyboy sighting!

Digging: The Avalanches - Since I Left You

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
April 21st 2013



3344 Comments


Lead single is all right, video is...interesting. May listen to the rest of the album

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
April 21st 2013



3344 Comments


Speaking of the recommended section by the way, I just rediscovered The Temper Trap about a week ago. I loved Conditions, and I finally got around to downloading their second album

Tyrael
April 21st 2013



20740 Comments


Oh god I need this

klap
Staff Reviewer
April 21st 2013



10258 Comments


who is DaveyBoy?

Digging: The Bilinda Butchers - Heaven

CaptainHadouken
April 21st 2013



1960 Comments


Wow this just sounds awesome.

RadicalEd
April 21st 2013



2555 Comments


sounds good.

Digging: Depth Connection - Fever Dreams

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
April 21st 2013



19463 Comments


nice to see a review from you daveyboy : ]

Digging: The Who - Tommy

toxin.
April 21st 2013



12021 Comments


DAVEY SPOTTING

will check out their lead single

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 21st 2013



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

That video is indeed... ummm... interesting brostep. Congrats on the promotion btw. As for Temper Trap, well they couldn't top their debut, but it's still a decent listen for half an album.

You need everything I review Thomas.

Rudy, it's not who is DaveyBoy, but what is DaveyBoy? A super-hero, a phenom, both, you decide.

Congrats on your promotion as well Atari.

Really hoping this album is made available to listen to via stream or something soon, so you can give some of the other tracks a listen. The thing about Hughes' voice is that she can do the quirky indie-pop thing, but also really belt out a number when she has to. She really does have a fantastic vocal range.

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
April 21st 2013



3344 Comments


Thanks for the congrats! I kinda want to check this but the lead single isn't quite my cup of tea, will probably listen to the
whole thing anyways though. Will it be on Spotify? I have premium so I can download it from there.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 21st 2013



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Unsure man. Their debut was almost impossible to find, so I can't guarantee it. But that was self-released, whereas they are at least now attached to a label, so it should get a little more of a push.

There is some variety on the album, especially with the 3 piano-driven tracks. Wouldn't have minded seeing them throw in a harder, faster tune just for my curiosity though.

tommygun
April 21st 2013



23597 Comments


davey lives

Digging: Obliteration - Black Death Horizon

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 21st 2013



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

I think I've somehow transformed myself into "that reviewer who exposes half-decent bands that no-one's ever heard of".

IHeardThat
April 21st 2013



77 Comments


I like what I've heard so far.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 21st 2013



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Can't say that I'm a fan of the band-name either. Maybe they could have actually called themselves 'Water Pop', instead of labeling that as their style of music.

cinaedus
April 21st 2013



26298 Comments


Maybe super water symphony?

Digging: Anberlin - Lowborn



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