The Internet: Hive Mind review – perfectly balanced between chilled and balmy

Fri, Jul 13, 2018, 05:00

   
 

Album:
Hive Mind

Artist:
The Internet

Label:
Columbia Records

Genre:
R&B / Soul

As one of the many offshoots of the Odd Future collective, which includes Frank Ocean, Earl Sweatshirt and Tyler, the Creator, The Internet has become a hip-hop staple of its own, marinating contemporary funk and mellow R&B with a squeeze of yacht rock until everything tastes just right.

With the band’s members, Syd Bennett, Matt Martians, Patrick Paige II, Christopher Smith and Steve Lacy, all having released solo material since Ego Death, in 2015, their new album, Hive Mind, has a carefree postholiday feel, finding a balance between chilled and balmy where nothing feels rushed and anything is possible.

Low-tempo, understated and slinky, the minimal rhythms on Hive Mind are courtesy of Lacy on guitar, Paige on bass, Martians on keys and Smith on drums. But it’s Bennett who’s the showstopper: she makes every line sound like a come-on. She was the album’s lead songwriter, and its lyrics have a confidence that was possibly missing when she was the only woman and openly gay member of Odd Future, and speaking for the group whenever they were accused of homophobic behaviour. Songs such as Wanna Be, which harks back to the self-assured sexuality of TLC’s CrazySexyCool, showcase a star power that’s only getting brighter.

The Internet: Come Over

The Internet: Roll

Martians also reveals more of himself on the poignant It Gets Better (With Time). “So much pressure in the world, I started gnashing my teeth. Hit the gas so hard, I blew a gasket and leaked,” he says while demonstrating his unwavering faith in God.

Despite the album’s name, Hive Mind plays to the strengths and opinions of each member. Cleverly accentuating these dynamics on Come Over, where Bennett is all puppy-eyed and in love, Lacy steps in at the end to shrug and say he’s not looking for that at all. “These bitches want diamond rings, Burk bags and other bling. I just don’t feel the same, vanity’s not my thing,” he burns – and with recent claims that he’s the next Pharrell Williams, thanks to production credits on songs by Kendrick Lamar, J Cole and Tyler, the Creator, the 19-year-old probably has other things on his mind than love.

Smart and playful, The Internet capture the concerns and confusions of being a young adult. By finding their own voice and identity among the masses, they’re going against the grain of their hip-hop roots with Odd Future.

Less trippy than their 2011 debut, Purple Naked Ladies, Hive Mind follows the laid-back R&B leanings of 2013’s Feel Good and Ego Death but is increasingly exploratory, gentle and sentimental. Hive Mind has a sunny disposition that will work its magic no matter the season.