Artist Name: Built for the Future Title: Supernational Genre: Alternative Rock
DAW – Logic Pro 9 and 10; Computer – iMac and MacBook Pro M1; Interface – Universal Audio Apollo X6 Interface; Mic – Studio Projects C1 Mic; Guitar – Rickenbacker 360 12-String 360 (with E-Bow); Bass – Fender Jazz Bass; Software – IK Multimedia SampleTank and SampleTron; Monitiors – ADAM A7
“Supernational” is an alternative rock song written by Patric Farrell and Kenny Bissett, and released by Built for the Future. The track features Bissett on lead vocals and E-Bow, with Farrell playing guitar, bass and Mellotron (from IK SampleTank).
Reviewed By Dave Martin
I don’t often hear a tune that catches my attention on the first listen like Built for the Future’s “Supernational.” I was grabbed by the structure of the song, the sounds chosen for the guitars and for the various Mellotron pads, the quality of the vocalists, and even the choice of the spoken word samples used in the intro and a few other places in the song. “Supernational” is well written and well performed.
While there are a number of guitars on the track, each one has a place. Both the panning used, and the tone of each instrument combine to work together well. Once the Mellotron samples show up, there’s a marvelous blend of all these instruments and the notes played are easily heard.
The guitars and keys blend together to make a really interesting soundscape held together by the ostinato bass track—which also has a really cool sound and great note choices. Because of the old-school sound of the Mellotron pads, the E-Bow tricks your ear into thinking it’s another synth sound, until you realize it isn’t. I liked that.
The drum track was, I assume, programmed, though the sounds and the programming fit the track well. The way that the drums helped build the song through the intro and into the first verse showed an awareness of the role of drums in a band. Drum fills are not just an opportunity for a drummer to play a lot of notes. They’re also like highway signs, letting the listener (and often, the rest of the group) know that something new is about to happen—a chorus, a solo or even a dynamic change. The drums in “Supernational” filled that role like a drummer should.
To my ears, “Supernational” has a bit of an ageless sound; Mellotrons were used in the early to mid-1960s, the E-Bow came out in 1976, and the bass sound reminds me of the later 1970s Ampeg SVT amps. While the guitars don’t necessarily sound vintage in any way, they weren’t recorded with the super-overdriven sound that started showing up on records in the last 15–20 years. Also, while I don’t know if they were recorded this way, they have the vibe of guitars played through an amp.
As I said earlier, “Supernational” grabbed my attention the first time I listened to it, and it still holds my attention after repeated listening. I would suggest that as Farrell and Bissett continue to make music together, and they might consider ways to give each of the instruments a bit more room.
For instance, I’d really like to hear the drums a bit better—but we all know that you can’t create a mix simply by turning everything up louder than everything else. So in this case, I wonder if it would be possible to bring the Mellotron pads down just a bit, to give the drums a bit more room?
Honestly, that’s the only thing that repeated listening to “Supernational” suggested; everything else works well for me.
It’s a fine song, well performed and well recorded; I look forward to hearing more from Built for the Future!