Admittedly, while Brockhampton's Saturation II and Saturation III were among our favorite albums of the year in 2017, we were a bit late to the party. We missed out on the group's first entry to the trilogy, and while it's not as definitive as the later records, it still stands out high above the rest. Brockhampton set their sights high with the first Saturation album, not quite at the level of greatness they would achieve later on but definitely showing the potential.
It's a bit weird to look back at the first entry with a bit less of a positive opinion than the albums that came later upon first impression, but everyone has to start somewhere. Saturation is still full of what defines Brockhampton's creative energy, from the weirdness yet beauty of 'Gold' at the start of the record to the familiar atmospheric, reverberating ending that graced each record with 'Waste.' Fun melodies make 'Fake' stand out and really ropes you in with that hook. 'Trip' has some haunting pianos that have just enough reverberation to make them sound ghostly as the melodies move smoothly above them. 'Swim' keeps an almost country, indie vibe going to make certain that Brockhampton aren't sticking to the norm.
At the same time, though, parts of Saturation feel like they're scared to be too different, which is pretty understandable. Opening track 'Heat' is equipped with super thick bass and a fat beat, badass flow to support them, like a reserved Run The Jewels. It's super aggressive, as is 'Bump' later on in the record - not a really indicative quality of the group, yet it certainly works out. A lot of the start of the record does feel like they were playing things safe, and it doesn't really start branching out until the latter half of the album. But as a first record, it's still more daring than more can say about their debuts.
Brockhampton set their sights high with the first Saturation album, not quite reaching the level of uniqueness they would gain later but definitely separating themselves from the others in their genre. It's not as daring, but remember, this was their first album as a group; it's only natural to be a bit weary of doing something incredibly different, even if they did have a pretty solid following to begin with. For a debut, its different and it showed promise for the future, both of which they evidently expanded on with later records.
Favorite Tracks: Fake, Bank, Swim
Least Favorite Tracks: Skits
Rating: 77 / 100
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