MisterWives — SUPERBLOOM (7/24/20)

William Cook
5 min readSep 4, 2020


This is the third full-length from this New York-based indie-pop group. I’ve been following them since their 2015 debut which held an all-time favourite in “Reflections.” 2017’s Connect The Dots was mediocre but it did give me another favourite in “Machine.”

They signed to Fueled By Ramen last year and teased this album with a five-song EP in the Fall which gave me a Top 100 of the year in “whywhywhy.”

Those five songs along with 14 others make up their latest album. Fortunately, only one song touches the four-minute mark so, despite being the biggest tracklisting of any album I’ve heard this year, it’s still not as long as Notes On A Conditional Form or folklore.

My overall thoughts after getting to know these songs are that their sound easily appeals to my alt-pop tastes but I do struggle to find much that keeps me hooked.

I’m playing “7–2” as I write this part and I gotta say, it’s not inspiring me. 7–2 is the worst possible poker hand you could be dealt and the song is basically about making the best out of a shitty hand. Lead singer Mandy Lee shows a lot of bravado in her performances to contend with the big instrumentation. A lot of times it just comes off too dramatic for me. There’s a soulfulness to their big pop deliveries that ultimately rubs me the wrong way. It’s too much performance with not enough grit to actually evoke much out of me.

Okay, I think I just got my least favourite track out of the way. Skimming through the rest, I find most of this to actually be pretty enjoyable. But I do stand by the fact that this album is missing much that keeps me hooked.

“whywhywhy” squeezed onto my Top 100 last year (it was #99) because it’s an amazing showing of the band’s musicianship and melodic power. One of their strongest qualities to me is the tight drum work that really pops out in my favourites and you can really feel the drums smashing the feeling home on this one. Despite that, it still falls short of that addictive quality I found in their earlier hits with “Reflections” and “Machine.”

It’s still very much my type of alternative pop music. It’s very clean, the energy tends to be lively, and (most of) the songs have a catchiness that’s easy to ride with. I love some moments in “ghost.” It’s got an alt-rock leaning feel with this Strokes-esque guitar riff and a glistening hook that touches on a fading relationship. The drum fill into the final chorus is one of my favourite moments on the album.

“find my way home” comes from the Fall EP. The band doesn’t shy away from the funk and you get a super slick bass groove through the verses on this one. The chorus swells with horns and is big and fun but, like so much of the album, I just don't get any real bite from it.

“rock bottom” is easy to get wrapped up in with a retro dance groove and a fresh performance from Lee. She gives me a different side to her usual vocal delivery when she sings, “I’m glad I saw this place, now I know I’m never coming back.” I love the finger-wagging swagger to it and it’s a great groove to loosen up the hips to.

There’s a great stomping energy to “oxygen,” a song that has Lee realizing that what she thought she needed was actually pulling her under. K. Flay has writing credits on this one among others on the album.

The somber instrumental foundations of “alone” came from members of Sir Sly. It’s another song that has Lee working through some of her personal issues. She’s voiced about multiple songs from this album that it was hard to shed light on some of her personal struggles (she came out of an 8-year relationship). I admire her working through her stuff with a song like “alone” but it’s a great example of just how flat some of these songs fall for me.

And when they actually slow things down for “valentine’s day” and “running in place” — two songs that seem to hold some of the most feeling for Lee — I just don’t find myself catching onto the mood. “valentines day” is all about the ending of this eight-year relationship and I wish I could connect with the feeling she’s trying to convey on it. Her soft-sung performance with the piano is touching but I’m left waiting for a swell of musical feeling that never really arrives. It does rise towards the 3:20 mark but it’s just not enough.

“decide to be happy” perks up a bit as Lee tries to look on the bright side and focus on what makes her happy. It’s a kind of realization that you need to make the choice to be happy, that it’s not a given and that you need to take action to find your happiness. Bright, soulful pop that I ultimately can only take so much of. It’s something about the trumpet and sax in these types of songs that annoys the hell out of me.

“muse” comes in second from last and would you look at that, we actually get one I quite enjoy. Lee’s vocals are pretty stunning in the chorus that really gives her a chance to shine. I mentioned the drum work pulling me in with these guys and again, I find the drums to really push some extra power out of this one. And I like it in comparison to the rest of the album. It still doesn't even contend for a Top 100 spot.

Alright, I’ve shared my thoughts on 10 of the 19 songs. That’s enough for me. I think you can get the idea of how I feel about the ones I’ve left unmentioned based on what I’ve already said.

Getting into this album originally I was thinking it was pretty good but now that I’m sitting down with it and really breaking it down I’ve realized I am hardly a fan of this at all. Sure, I enjoy MisterWive’s sound which puts them ahead of tons of music out there. But do I really even enjoy it? It’s like I enjoy them on a surface level but when I really pick into the songs I realize that I don’t really like them at all.

That sounds a bit dramatic. I don’t hate this music. But it has become clear to me with this album that most of their stuff just doesn't push the right buttons for me.