“Hypnotic, Exhaustive, Bliss”: Brooklyn Grunge Band Superbloom Ignite on Stunning Debut ‘Pollen’

Superbloom © Maya Lee
Superbloom © Maya Lee

Mitch's Take

10 Music Quality
10 Production
10 Content Originality
10 Memorability
10 Lyricism
10 Sonic Diversity
10 Arranging
10
Feverish and raw, Superbloom’s debut album ‘Pollen’ is a dynamic outpouring of unapologetic, impassioned grunge.
for fans of Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters
Stream: “Muzzle” – Superbloom




Feverish and raw, Superbloom’s debut album is a dynamic outpouring of unapologetic, impassioned grunge.

An enthralling ’90s revival comes to life with cinematic strength and wonder in Pollen, a radiant explosion of overdrive and intimate energies that lights a thrilling, unforgettable fire within.

Pollen - Superbloom
Pollen – Superbloom
save me from myself
put me back up on the shelf
i thought we understood
if i could turn back time i would
head under water
when i like to speak
I wanna know your name
blood in the water
when you like to feed
I wanna know your name, enemy
in my riverbed
the tv glows again
All there frame by frame
hail four letter change
– “Muzzle,” Superbloom

Released June 1, 2021, Pollen truly is a blast from the present, future, and past all at once. Whoever might have thought grunge came and went in the the 1990s has another thing coming, as a great revival is taking shape here and now in Brooklyn, New York: Composed of members Dave Hoon, Matteo Dix, Tim Choate and Brian DiMeglio, Superbloom introduced themselves last May with debut single “Level Head,” a throttling rush of furious guitars and thrashing drums that balances chaos and control with grace and finesse. The band followed up this year with March’s standalone single “No Name,” and went on to spend the past two months unleashing a series of gritty, melodic songs full of dramatic tension and cathartic, sensational release.

Superbloom © Maya Lee
Superbloom © Maya Lee

Like their speedy debut album release, Pollen both is and isn’t a long time coming for Superbloom. “We just crossed the three year mark playing together – no member swaps,” bassist Brian DiMeglio tells Atwood Magazine. “While Dave and Tim were lifelong friends, Matteo and myself were new to them and each other. This record is a sonic photograph of how we’ve fused together over these endless days shaking the walls together.”

“We all had a collective desire to make a strong full length with no filler. The tracklist evolved several times over – write, destroy, rebuild. During the last bursts of writing for the LP in early-mid 2020 before our deadline to submit for mixing, as new ideas came in, we just sliced off the weakest links one by one. The final tracklist is unrecognizable from the draft tracklist for the LP.”

Pollen was nearly complete a year ago, but the band ended up writing and recording four new songs during 2020’s quarantine. The resulting twelve-track, 43-minute album is a bonafide ten-out-of-ten, with highs and lows that rip through the air, ready to tear us down and build us back stronger than before.

long black hair hanging over bones
i don’t pluck apologies i’ve shed
running out of room to furnish ocean floors
i’m still in my bed of roses in my head
dear old friends blister under scars
wind my bluff in callous plastic web
running out of room to decorate these arms
i’m still in my bed of roses in my head
– “Twig,” Superbloom
Superbloom © Maya Lee
Superbloom © Maya Lee

“For ‘Mary on a Chain’ and ‘1994’, we wrote them by sending demos back and forth from New York, Texas and New Hampshire,” vocalist/guitarist Dave Hoon explains. “We eventually tracked them together in Brooklyn, but the vocals were recorded in New Hampshire.”

The album’s title has its own interesting genesis. “Tim had a drunk thought to pepper in the acoustic demos of all the songs as interludes so it would be like spreading the pollen around that produced the album,” Hoon says. “We didn’t end up doing that, but the name stuck.”

“The album was also entirely self-recorded and self-produced led by Brian and Dave, which I think makes it really special for all of us,” guitarist Tim Choate adds. “There isn’t much we’d rather do than be in the studio together. And working with Joe Reinhart on the mix and Will Yip on the master still doesn’t seem real, both of those guys are incredible.”

Please help me bleed
Take away these pills
I feel dirty when I’m numb
Most of my day
Is biting off my fingernails
I feel naked when you’re gone
When you’re gone
Magnolia
When you’re gone
Torture me with a smile
Please help me bleed
Swallow all the razorblades
I feel dirty when I’m numb
Wasted my day on my window sill
Feel like hiding where I’m from
take the long way home
I feel naked when you’re gone
When you’re gone
Magnolia
When you’re gone
Torture me for a while
Save yourself
– “1994,” Superbloom


Highlights abound on an album that refuses to sit still, accept the status quo, or dwell in any one sonic space for too long.

From the throttling juxtaposed dynamics of opener “1994” and the roaring drive of “Mary on a Chain” and “Leash,” to the subdued beauty of the haunting acoustic number “Muzzle,” the hot-in-your-face vocals of “Glass Candy Wrapper,” and the soaring, sheer power of “Whatever,” Pollen packs a heavy, hearty, and instantly memorable punch.

“I have a soft spot for ‘Hey Old Man’ and ‘Whatever,'” drummer Matteo Dix says. “They’re probably the two songs I have the most fun playing, and I get to sing some pretty banging vocal harmonies that we arranged for the Studio G sessions (Dave sings harmonies on the record).  Basically I’m just trying to get me some spotlight here at the back of the stage.”

On the topic of favorites, Brian DiMeglio cites four notable songs – “1994,” “Mary on a Chain,” “Whatever,” and “Worms.” “[They] were all written in a burst in the last months before sending off the record for mixing to Joe Reinhart. As the newest songs, they’re the most accurate snapshot of who we are right now.”

Meanwhile, vocalist Dave Hoon shines a spotlight on the lyrics to the song “Spill”:

Wish I was someone else,
so I redeem myself at the pharmacy
A little slice of heaven spills

“Fun stuff,” he adds.

There’s a simmering darkness in and around much of Pollen‘s lyrics, but it’s a testament to the strength and connection of Superbloom’s band members – both to one another, and to their music – that they can find sparks of light and even joy in every song.

i wanna buy a crown of thorns
try it on and poison my skin red
white milky sap
is there life after death?
since you learned to tie a cord
i’m pissing in my bed of nails again
wish i was someone else
so i redeem myself
at the pharmacy
a little slice of heaven spills
into your drain
into my brain
i wanna buy your sympathy
hesitation wound up just like me
shallow as a cut
my euphoria
– “Spill,” Superbloom


Superbloom © Maya Lee
Superbloom © Maya Lee

Pollen is a stick of musical dynamite that will blow you away.

Excuse the cliché, tired metaphor, but take these words to heart: It has been years since we heard a band – let alone, a debut album – that hits as hard and cuts to the core in the way that Superbloom’s Pollen does. Grunge hasn’t felt this fresh in decades.

“We hope people build a connection with the album – and that those people want to hear more,” Dave Hoon shares. “It’s a lot of work to write an album. It’s a fuckload of work to actually release an album.”

Pollen could have come across sounding like four guys jamming to the sounds of their youth; in fact, it does come across like that – but somehow, Superbloom have accomplished the praiseworthy feat of reviving rock’s heaviest genre, giving it an invigorating facelift and ensuring every moment of their LP is as exhilarating as it is utterly breathtaking.

Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Superbloom’s Pollen EP with Atwood Magazine as the band goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of their debut album!

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:: stream/purchase Pollen here ::
Stream: ‘Pollen’ – Superbloom



:: Inside Pollen ::

Pollen - Superbloom

— —

1994

1994 wasn’t thought out as an album opener, but with hindsight it’s as purebred an opener as you can get. It just explodes straight out of the gate and sets the tone for the rest of the record. We wanted the first song to be a real statement of intent, and once we (I) realized “1994” should be the opener, it just made perfect sense. – Matteo

Mary on a Chain

The first time I heard this song was an iPhone demo that Dave and Matteo recorded during quarantine (the band was our bubble). It was actually written after we thought we had finished the album. The second I heard that guitar rhythm in the intro I was hooked. -Tim
There’s a pretty solid track record of people who do horrible shit who suddenly see the light and feel totally redeemed. Mary isn’t anti-redemption — It’s anti-shortcut. Either way I’m taking a cynical jab at the concept. – Dave

Hey Old Man

I love this song. It’s heavy and weird. We showed up to a gig in Brooklyn once and long story short, it was disorganized and chaotic. We got thrown up on stage and played this song angry as hell. By the end of our set the room filled out and I think that was one of the best shows we ever played. -Tim

Leash

First song we wrote on the record way before the idea of the album had been born – and it still holds up with the newer tunes. You wouldn’t believe how many layers of guitars are on it.

Muzzle

Muzzle was originally written on bass like 8 years ago – at least that’s when the old demo was uploaded to my SoundCloud. It’s just one of those riffs that you play all the time and make and forget melodies for. But eventually a chorus melody stuck — and during quarantine last year the rest of the song followed. -dave

Nothing Else

Man I love this song. The opening fill, driving verses, the urgent and explosive bridge – it hits hard. This is the first one Dave brought to the table with the soft vocals and I was pretty blown away when I heard it. The juxtaposition between the vocals and driving rhythm section represents an unparalleled staging of Dave’s vocals not found anywhere else on the record. Did I mention I’m into the song? – Brian

Spill

The first incarnation of Spill is actually over 3 years old and has zero parts in common with the song we ended up putting on the record. We just kept the name. The original had this fun proggy section that at the time sounded like the coolest thing I had ever heard. – Matteo

Worms

This was a late addition to the album too but I like that it changes things up. The sludgyness comes out even harder live. -Tim

Glass Candy Wrapper

We recorded Glass Candy Wrapper four or five times in four different places. We did at least two full band studio versions. One in New Jersey and one in Brooklyn. Another version we tracked in our apartment living room with an acoustic bass and the drums were played with hot rods. And the final version that made the record we ended up scrapping all the guitars last minute and re-recording all of them on acoustic guitar. It’s also the only song that features another vocalist as Matteo sings the chorus harmonies. – Dave

Pollen

Pollen is up there of our favorites off this record. The whole thing was built around the verse riff – the song being reincarnated many times until it was born in its current form. We reworked the third verse in particular a stomach turning number of times – but we’re all psyched on how it landed, and how it contrasts with the rest of the song. – Brian

Whatever

The first practice room demos of Whatever sounded so much like The Police – that I don’t think we revisited the song for weeks. – Dave

Twig

Twig was specifically written to be an album closer. It was recorded in the second bedroom in Brooklyn summer heat so the AC was on during the takes. The hum is pretty obvious. When I punched in some vocal changes later on I had to turn on the AC to match it. – Dave

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:: stream/purchase Pollen here ::

— — — —

Pollen - Superbloom

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📸 © Maya Lee
art © Patrick Turk

:: Stream Superbloom ::



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