'Hive Mind' is The Internet's most self-assured album yet
The Internet are one of very few bands capable of transcending 2018 playlist culture. Their sound has always been a collaboration of very different yet very talented musical minds. Medleys concocted by the five in previous albums Ego Death and Purple Naked Ladies sit firmly on both my ‘licence to chill’ and ‘turn-up-talesha’ playlists. On Friday, they debuted their fourth studio album Hive Mind and, of course, it was no exception to the rule written by band’s previous genre-bending releases.
A hive mind (according to many-a-sci-fi film) is a source of collective intelligence and/or the unification of independent consciousness. Hive Mind the album embodies that concept acutely; it is a spectacular synthesis of each of the fivesome’s individual expertise that amounts to thirteen tracks which take you from feel-good hip-rolling to introspective foot-tapping, with a seamlessness that’s near-perfect.
The Internet is but one of many successful brainchildren of misfit hip-hop collective Odd Future which includes faves Frank Ocean and Tyler, the Creator. Odd Future was the original hive mind — a group of kids who found refuge from the violent gang culture of LA in making funny skate videos and messing around with beats — and although frontline vocalist Syd has since left the collective, this album seems, in part, an acknowledgement of her Odd Future roots and what got the band here in the first place.
Any Syd fans amongst you who were worried she may have used up all her best work in recent solo project Fin, won’t be disappointed. As always, her feather-light vocals are complemented beautifully by the melange of electronic neo-soul beats and motown melodies crafted by Matt Martians, Steve Lacy and the gang. The psychedelic harmonies on ‘Roll (Burbank Funk)’ and the pseudo-sexy slow jam vibe of ‘Stay the Night’ make those two my firm standouts.
In a press release prior to the album coming out, Syd said that their aim with Hive Mind was to “live by example and promote camaraderie amongst young black people.” This is an especially important message given the recent murder of controversial rapper XXX Tentation (rumoured to have been killed by a rival LA rapper) and the recent spike in rap beefs as marketing stunts between black creatives. The three songs following on from ‘It Gets Better (With Time)’ really give me the sense that the five have matured musically as a cohort. Their range of samples and the complexity of their trademark electronic baselines make this album The Internet’s most diverse, well-assembled body of work yet.
What do you think of Hive Mind? Let us know in the comments below!