review of 'Saturation III' sees BROCKHAMPTON entering the big leagues

Empire Distribution



Saturation III

While hip hop collective BROCKHAMPTON has already announced another record, it certainly helps that their closer to the Saturation trilogy is such a solid entry. Boasting huge party tracks with dark undertones and some menacing grooves, this album is a constant swirl driven by the band’s seemingly unlimited creativity.

With a funky horn swagger, the album blasts open on “Boogie” riding a frantic groove with clever touches of house music over its lively hip hop. The constant rotation of vocal duties over the insane production make the album a constant wonder, especially as things move to “Zipper.” The blending of melodic hooks and sirens into a summary of the inner city experience makes for a track that feels rich with life. “Johnny” starts brash but instead turns into a smooth and jazzy flow as the band emulates tones of A Tribe Called Quest while making clever comments about our boasting culture.

Diving right into their own dark back stories, “Liquid” is a haunting lo-fi tale of coming to something from hardship. Their ability to weave in such pain into something brief and stripped down however is where this track really soars. You can also feel this on the weird sample and Spanish blending of “Cinema 1” as they craft an interlude out of what seems to be a movie clip. “Stupid” perfectly blends old and new school hip hop, throwing vintage production against their endless variations on modern delivery.

“Bleach” takes a dreamy luster into its grin-inducing raps, as the warped falsetto’s of its main hook lift listeners to the cloud on every refrain. Despite all the sonic details that make this song so rich, the constant rotation of vocalists does feel a little more disorienting on this track. While rich with inspiration, “Alaska” itself feels a little to downbeat to make its dreary production really work, coming off a little too muddy. “Hottie” has an immediate flow however, letting its wash of different genres prove just how crafty the group really is. Instantly intoxicating and able to carry all the variation the group brings, the track is a lush listen.

“Cinema 2” offers another bizarre, Spanish vignette of loss and redemption, offering condolences for a loss. Coming in on a dirty synth line, “Sister/Nation” is a worrying tale of mental health and bad situations, that weaves in the voices of the interludes surprisingly seamlessly. Kicking into a grinding electronic rock, the song is the album’s most ambitious but satisfying. “Rental” however sinks back into more modern hip hop lines, feeling at its most interesting lyrically and in its brief melodic accents.

Through its vintage brass tones, “Stains” has a reflective narrative from each of the members, decidedly having members speak over each other instead of fading each other out. Simple but lyrically intriguing, the track feels right with the group’s chemistry. “Cinema 3” closes out the album’s meta-narrative like an epilogue as it seems to lament wrongs done in the past. Taking the album out with a solemn guitar drawl, “Team” has a haunting sense of harmonies before it tears into its biting waves of distortion.

Words by Owen Maxwell