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Movement becomes contagious listening to Superhuman Happiness’ first full-length album, Hands, which will be released March 5, 2013, on The Royal Potato Family. Today, Superhuman Happiness is sharing “See Me On My Way” the first single, which just premiered on Rolling Stone. The band will also be releasing the original motion picture score for How To Survive A Plague, for which they are joined by Kronos Quartet, out on December 4, 2012.
The relentlessly creative band, whose sound has been dubbed “physical cinematic dance music,” captured the magic of their electrifying live performances at Seaside Lounge in Brooklyn. The outcome is a collection of songs that run the gamut from syncopated claps that represent the world’s earliest music to the coronation grandeur of church bells, art-pop dance beats, disco slides, math rock angularity and life-affirming emotions that reflect the band’s moniker.
“Our friend Tatiana thought of the name Superhuman Happiness while riding her bike on the beach with her eyes closed,” explains bandleader Stuart Bogie. “I realized that was the feeling we were trying to pursue with this band.”
The lyrics to Superhuman Happiness songs come at you in a flurry of pop sensibility but, like the ideas that inspired the entire album, they lean metaphysical, peppered amid the vastness of cinematic layers of instrumentation. Guitarists Luke O’Malley and Ryan Ferreira trade highlife picking and revving power chords as Nikhil Yerawadekar’s ropey bass lines weave and bob through the pulsing beats issued from Miles Arntzen’s drum kit. Lush accents and waves of sound issue from Jared Samuel‘s array of analog keyboards and Eric Biondo‘s slyly subversive, but playful harmonies. Bogie’s horns, abetted by long-time friend and collaborator Colin Stetson, round out Hands’ deceptively rich sound.
The members of Superhuman Happiness are not strangers to collaboration. Each musician is a key player in the NYC music scene as their collective resume stretches across a dizzying array of talent, including Antibalas, Phenomenal Handclap Band, TV On The Radio, Iron & Wine and Martha Wainwrightamong numerous others. Together, however, their individual voices coalesce into one shared vision. The foundation for the songs on Hands were created by playing a series of hand-clapping games at the beginning of each rehearsal. It was the spark that initiated a truly collaborative process.
“The album was cultivated through a shared method of composition in order to make something greater than any one individual. Who are our influences? More than anything, this band has seven main influences: each member,” says Bogie. “We actually play like this; the record was culled from live performances and doesn’t contain any loops or the like. It is a handmade musical affair, which made the title easy to come by!”
In addition to the forthcoming release of Hands, Superhuman Happiness recently recorded the original motion picture score to the critically acclaimed documentary, How To Survive A Plague. Written and co-produced by Bogie and O’Malley and including performances by Kronos Quartet and compositions by Arthur Russell, the music from the film will be released digitally on December 4 with all proceeds benefiting the Student Global AIDS Campaign.