Do You Feel Ok? It’s a question you can answer with a shake of the head or an hour-long tangent. For Superhumanoids, it’s the title of their sophomore album, but it goes deeper than that. It’s an inquiry that they kept asking each other throughout recording - a meditation on indecision, the infinite paths available, the dubious and righteous choices you’ve made, the changes in your own life that don’t always parallel those closest to you. It can be an obvious “yes” or “no,” or an existential inquiry without easy answers.
Since their 2013 Innovative Leisure debut, Exhibitions, the LA trio sound like they’ve traveled 30 years forward. Whereas their first album elicited comparisons to artists from the '80s, Do You Feel Ok? reflects the present in all the power and clarity possible with modern technology. The synths are phosphorescent. Lead singer Sarah Chernoff’s vocals are sleek, ethereal, and ignore gravitational limitations. With propulsive drum machines and feathery hooks, the band blends futuristic electronic textures with classic regard for songwriting.
Superhumanoids are singular, but their grace at switching between dance music and rock recall similar hybrids, Darkside and Caribou. “In the middle of recording, we went on tour with Erasure and realized that the songs we’d written weren’t achieving the energetic atmosphere we hoped for,” says Max St. John, the band’s synth programmer. "When we got home we made the necessary changes to create that energy. We wrote additional songs, we sped up tempos, and made changes to the production that we felt were more exciting.”
All three members, Chernoff, Cameron Parkins, and St. John share writing credits and display a rare chemistry. But the durability of their bond comes from both an inherent connection and having been repeatedly tested. “When we released our first record we had a lot of expectations, some of which weren’t met. The ensuing disappointment caused strain on our relationships as band mates and friends,” says Parkins, Superhumanoids’ guitarist. “When we got together again to start making music for the second album, our friendships felt re invigorated and our eyes were open as to what to ‘expect’ from releasing an album.”
Do You Feel Ok? is the leap that comes when a band figures out who they are, how to trust each other, and how to create a sound of their own. It’s fluid, full of movement, and capable of pushing people emotionally. If you’re exhausted from the monotony of Internet consensus and homogenous bands, press play. This can soundtrack summer pool parties or the drive home - when you feel okay and when you don’t.