The Internet review – fragile magic disappears into the ether

Scala, London
Syd Bennett’s Odd Future offshoot offer teasing glimpses of the sublime sound they conjure in the studio, but their ethereal funk evaporates on stage

Near-Biebermanic hysteria greets Syd Bennett tonight. The Internet’s singer arrives on stage like a truant skatekid in her oversized hoodie and two-tone mohawk, but it’s her honeyed, gossamer vocals that illuminate the broken heart beating within the group’s ethereal, neon-lit funk, investing them with mystery, humour and carnal hunger. That’s the reason for the frenzy in the audience.

Often, though, the Odd Future-affiliated collective feel like a hothouse flower wilting away from the studio’s protective environment, their conventional guitar-drums-keys setup cursing their celestial soul with feet of clay, while Syd’s voice – multi-tracked and artfully arranged on record – frequently proves vaporous and elusive, lost to the cavernous room. A keyed-up audience sing along to most choruses and several verses, papering over the gaps. Less partisan ears, however, strain to detect the group’s fragile magic.

The moments when the group do connect with their muse – the hypnotic Girl, Syd lost in bottomless lakes of longing; Just Sayin’, emboldened by a bolshy, righteous hook of “You … fucked … up!”; a wall-shaking blast through Get Away, Syd surfing the outreached arms of her ecstatic crowd – are impressive, teasing glimpses of the sublime they conjure in the studio, but that mostly eludes them here. And when Syd provokes a mass outbreak of amateur video-recording with a heart-stopping take of Insecurities (from her solo debut Fin), it seems a salient metaphor, as the Internet’s performance is too often like those smartphone videos – a frustrating, clumsy facsimile of a very real thing.

• At Scala, London, 10 and 11 April. Box office: 08444 771 000.


Stevie Chick

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Tyler, the Creator review – hero's welcome for rap's heartbroken dandy
At his first UK show since a travel ban from Theresa May was overturned, Tyler, the Creator’s lovely, submissive neo-soul tracks segue into pyro and moshpits

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

17, Sep, 2019 @10:39 AM

The Internet: Purple Naked Ladies – review
The latest offshoot from LA hip-hop misfits Odd Future is an intriguing collection of jazzy neo-soul, writes Kitty Empire

Kitty Empire

15, Jan, 2012 @12:05 AM

Article image
Drake review – the boy's got everything
The Canadian star crams an impressive number of hits into his Boy Meets World show, which undulates and shimmers like a spectacular art installation

Alexis Petridis

31, Jan, 2017 @1:38 PM

Article image
John Legend review – soul's starry-eyed charmer imparts irresistible rhythms
The velvet-voiced superstar had to work to win over an initially restrained crowd, but over two hours his twirling showmanship earned a rapturous ovation

Graeme Virtue

10, Sep, 2017 @10:25 AM

Odd Future - review

There is far more to Odd Future than easy thrills – the music is hulking, baroque, and awesomely accomplished, writes Paul Lester

Paul Lester

01, May, 2011 @9:55 PM

Article image
Heartache in golf shoes: how Odd Future brought fresh energy to rap
By embracing vulnerability at a time when all the old rules about the genre were breaking down, the LA collective broadened what it could be

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

28, Nov, 2019 @9:30 AM

Article image
Craig David review – audacious return of a mild-mannered risk-taker
The likable pop-soul veteran hasn’t lost his sentimental side, but he reveals a slightly harder edge with stage-prowling antics and tongue-tying raps

Ian Gittins

21, Oct, 2016 @11:19 AM

Article image
Afropunk review – afrofuturism gets anthemic at festival of booming black creativity
Printworks, London
JME, Nadia Rose, Nao, Lianne La Havas, Willow Smith and Corinne Bailey Rae all came together at a diverse celebration of black culture

Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff

24, Jul, 2017 @3:37 PM

Article image
Odd Future … – review
Patented Odd Future chaos made up for the muddying of their individual talents on stage, writes Mark Beaumont

Mark Beaumont

30, Mar, 2012 @12:00 PM

Article image
Anderson .Paak review – bristling funk and fevered ballads from the R&B ace
.Paak barely pauses for breath in this irresistible sprint through his hard luck/good fortune tracks: this is a man unafraid to break a sweat to bring the house down

Stevie Chick

17, Apr, 2017 @12:52 PM