Gupi & Fraxiom (A.K.A Social House) certainly have quite a career ahead of them. There is still room for improvement on this self-titled debut, however, it's clear to see how bright the future of these two will be.
Like many others, my first introduction to Gupi & Fraxiom was through their hit song, "Thos Moser". My favorite hyper-pop song of all time and one of my favorite singles of the year. The combination of Gupi's colorfully glitchy production and Fraxiom's clever humor was absolute bliss. Not to mention all of the iconography and quotable throughout this thing. Since then both Gupi & Fraxiom have grown their fanbase and added more to their catalog. Gupi's album, "None" was incredibly inventive. For a genre like Bubblegum Bass, I feel like the main appeal lies in the exaggerated vocals, therefore for Gupi to make an almost fully instrumental bubblegum bass which is thoroughly engaging and refreshing is nothing short of outstanding. I was a HUGE fan of Fraxiom's EP, "Music" when I first listened to it in March. The fact that Fraxiom managed to pack so much emotion, experimentation, and personality into only 13 minutes is an impressive accomplishment. Fortunately, after some popular singles & collaborations like his Skrillex interpolation & the track, "Alien" with Mood Killer, "Music" has gone from barely reaching 50 thousand total steams after 5 months to getting two tracks to over 100 thousand streams. Moreover, this was the perfect time for Gupi & Fraxiom to re-ignite the Thos Moser flame after a productive year for both of them and end on a W.
...and yeah this is pretty damn great. I knew it wasn't going to be easy for them to live up to expectations after a single like "Thos Moser" and keep a full-length album of their collaborations fresh and dynamic. However, for what its worth any of the shortcomings here are not for lack of trying.
Before I go into the many things I love about "food house", I'll talk about my grievances with this album. Predominantly, this album lacks a clear direction or purpose in the Bubblegum Bass landscape. This "food house" feels less like them defining their intention and ambitions musically in a cohesive album form and more like a collection of adventures each with their own motif. Ultimately, this leads to a lot of inconsistency and a very strange flow. To the point that when I listen to "food house", it's never as an album experience but more picking out my favorite tracks.
Also, I think that at this point in Fraxiom and Gupi's career, they're at their best with a particular type of song. Meaning that even though I appreciate Gupi & Fraxiom try their best to make the album more dynamic, the tracks where Fraxiom try something new usually feel unfinished or like they are out of their element. The tracks "one you know" and "metal" try a more abrasive and distorted sound, yet whilst there are some admirable qualities like the pure aggression of "metal" as well as that intro, both tracks feel underwritten and just scatter-brained. Same goes for the moments where Fraxiom's vocals aim for a more dreamy sound like on the opener, "sole" and parts of the closing track, "foresight". These tracks just feel off, since the magic of Frax's vocals are how absurdly out-there they are, emphasizing the incredibly specific internet humor they exude, therefore a track like "sole" just feel low-impact for Fraxiom. Whereas I think the more aggressive aforementioned tracks could make more sense for Fraxiom's stylistic in the future, I think that Gupi's glitchy, cartoonish embellishments do not fit tracks like "pharmacy" or "one you know" at all. On the latter track, it seems like Gupi is trying to insert his little colorful glitches here &there, but it just sounds haphazardly placed together. On the other hand, Gupi's production has more space to breathe on the softer tracks, whereas the entire premise seems contradictory to Fraxiom's style.
However, when Fraxiom and Gupi are in "Thos Moser"-like form, they are making some of the most entertaining and youthful music of 2020. I cannot get enough of the track "55129". Apart from the super rewarding and masterful build of the instrumental to that insane drop from Gupi with all those whirrs and strange computer sounds, Fraxiom is also at their peak. I've had a hard time describing why I love Fraxiom's lyrical focus so much. I think this song pretty much encapsulates my reasons why. The track is legitimately emotionally moving, especially on the chorus where I think Fraxiom is talking about being Trans and somebody suffering from dysphoria, or even if that's not it, somebody suffering with their identity. On the same song where they talk about these emotional concepts, Frax also has a pair of bars about the goddamn Alvin & chipmunks, "Who's getting the best head?" meme. I shit you not.
These insanely age-limited references only become more ridiculously enjoyable on the track, "mos thoser". This track might almost be on the level of "Thos Moser". It's fucking incredible. Instead of going into why, I'll just choose some lyrical gems to share with you:
"Boutta make a Girls Gone Wild spinoff called Twink Gone Reckless, they wanna-
Bing, bing, bong" (Yes that's a Crazy Frog sample)
"Tonight lets do shit that gets us in cringe comps
Make some new behaviors that straight people will infringe on"
"And Micah just told me I'm poggers
I thought someone else was sellin tabs and poppers
Now I'm running through the streets like I am Frogger"
You're an icon cause you're me
Think about how many people know they're gay because of me"
"But someone here gives me a rude vibe
Vineyard Vines on, I bet you listen to Maroon 5"
My point is proven.
Anyway, I'd also point you towards tracks like "curses" and "ride", which have colorful soundscapes from Gupi along with infectious vocal lines from Fraxiom. Especially "ride" with it's blunt yet mesmerizing chorus along with more oddly quirky lyrics mentioning "only feeling alive at Target CVS".
Ultimately, this debut, self-titled record is one of potential. Fraxiom and Gupi had already proven to me that they were arguably two of the most interesting and engaging artists in the Hyper-Pop scene, this album only deepens my trust that it won't be long before I'll be forced to give them a rating more along the lines of a high 8 or 9. "food house" also makes it clear that their biggest hurdle will be able to master the deep cuts and further develop their sound to make tracks like "metal" or "sole" work and sound more natural.
BEST TRACKS: "ride", "51129", "mos thoser", "curses", "clown nose"
WORST TRACKS: "one you know"