Following the success of Saturation and Saturation II, California-based hip-hop boyband Brockhampton continued along their rapid creation cycle, releasing Saturation III, their third album in seven months. Compared to the previous two albums in the trilogy, Saturation III is the most experimental and most approachable at the same time.
The album opens with the track “BOOGIE,” a funky, hyperactive track fueled by horns and sirens. The track kicks off the album with a bang, contrastingly heavily with the group’s previous work. Transitioning into “ZIPPER,” listeners are greeted by a trippy, carnival-esque soundscape that’s near impossible to not dance to.
The final installment of the Saturation trilogy shows an immense amount of maturity compared to the previous two, in every aspect ranging from production to flow to lyricism. Members Matt Champion, Merlyn Wood, and Joba weren’t able to show their true potential on Saturation I and II, but the three dominate in Saturation III. Joba’s high-strung, hyperactive energy is displayed on tracks “ZIPPER” and “SISTER/NATION,” specifically dictating his downward spiral into instability on the latter. Wood’s boisterous, rowdy voice adds energy to every track he’s featured on, and his skills have developed greatly throughout the trilogy. Wood explores a new flow on the moody, introspective “STUPID,” lazily floating through the shadowy beat.
Saturation III contains countless incredibly catchy hooks throughout the entire project, from Ryan Beatty’s dreamy singing on “BLEACH” to the poppy, synth-filled “RENTAL.” The entire album projects the group’s youthful roots and sticks true to their “boyband” label; the group performs together on nearly every track, bouncing off of each other and complimenting each other’s respective styles.
The single weak point of this album is what is commonly referred to as the “Brockhampton flow.” Members of the group, specifically Ameer Vann, have a tendency to use the same flow or style throughout all of their songs. While this isn’t always a bad thing as it sounds very comfortable and smooth, some verses sound like they’ve been repeated before. The group even acknowledges this on “STAINS” with a short interlude commenting on the fact that Kevin Abstract constantly reminds listeners how gay he is and how Vann’s raps usually center around his dark past. While this installment is far more progressive and experimental than their past work, the group needs to continue innovating to keep their content fresh.
The entire project remains fantastic, without even a single lackluster song, but there are still clear highlights that stand above the rest. “SISTER/NATION” is dark, sinister, and teeming with energy– until the beat switch halfway through. The track flips from hyperactive and neurotic to dreamy and ethereal, creating a perfect contrast and letting all sides of the group shine through. “ZIPPER” adds to the album similarly with a twisted sound that wouldn’t be out of place in the circus. “TEAM” opens with Bearface’s trademark guitar riffs and somber vocals, even taking influence from the subgenre of shoegaze throughout the second half; the instruments blend together into an intense flood of sound, fading into short verses from Abstract and Vann before dissolving into the chaos of static that fans of the group will be familiar with. The entire trilogy loops perfectly.
Saturation III goes above and beyond expectations. From the bold, experimental production to thoughtful and introspective lyricism, it’s Brockhampton’s best work so far by a long shot. The group has already announced their fourth album and remains hard at work, so fans of the Saturation trilogy should be sure to keep their eyes peeled.