Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Being a superhumanoid has to do, somewhat, with immunity, or with hyper-sensitivity, at the minimum. It must mean that you can access those human things that we're all either familiar with or we have heard about in literature, in ways that go above and beyond explanation. There are crocodile tears and then there are those of normal humans, but then again, there are those of the super humans, and these tears are chock-full of the most heartrending parts of all emotion, little microcosms, tiny prisms/universes unto themselves. There's that feeling of fullness, as if we're just going to burst. We've got to get out there and move our legs. We've got to shout and we've got to at least try to fly - as hard as that is. We've got to at least imagine what it must be like to grow wings and then to grow feathers onto those wings, popping out of our multiplying pores like the insides of pillows turned into rashes. We won't scratch at them though. We'll marvel that this could have happened, that we could be this much closer to flying, while still a long ways from it. We try though. We try to feel as much as we can and we often wonder if we're doing it well enough.
Los Angeles-based group Superhumanoids gets us to expand on what we thought we could feel. They give us more to feel and make us question if we're doing it right or enough. Voice, beat and synth-driven, the group takes us into lush gardens of pop sonics a la Champaign-based Headlights or fellow Californians Princeton/Kisses, piling on the warm, feel good sounds, while getting to those saddened thoughts that we all love to chew on. There are the daydreams about getting back "to island times," a sentiment that speaks to the band's own description of its own music - "Music to help kiss the doldrums away." Of course, they only claim to be able to HELP kiss the doldrums away. There's nothing to suggest that anything of the sort could ever actually happen. It's a tall order.
Cameron Parkins and Sarah Chernoff mix their vocals in a way that's pleasantly reassuring. It's like they've invited you over for a nice meal and a few cocktails though they've never come out and asked you to do any such thing. It sounds like they've done that though and you find yourself leaning in their direction, reaching for their doorbell, thinking that it's not strange at all to picture yourself on their couch, just listening to records, sharing stories, laughing together and drinking some modestly priced wine. It might just be that we'd like to feel the way that they do - that we could be so lucky to have their powers. When Chernoff sings, "All I wanna do is feel, but sometimes I feel too much/All I wanna do is love, but sometimes I love too much/Do you wonder why some days I say those things I say/It's you/And wonder why oh why would I act this way/It's you," on "Hey Big Bang," from their debut EP "Urgency," it's uncertain if there's a curse here or if hell is just other people, as it is sometimes hard to tell. Sometimes we still have the urge to join them. Sometimes we still have the urge to love them.
*Essay originally published November, 2011
Superhumanoids Official Site