The Internet: Hive Mind review – slippery group dynamics


The Internet’s name alludes to the tight yet far-reaching connection between the five-piece LA band, but it’s the individual members’ solo projects that have distinguished them recently. Lead singer Syd released her debut, Fin, last year – a nocturnal collection of intimate R&B – while keyboardist Matt Martians and guitarist Steve Lacy also put out groove-heavy efforts in 2017; the latter came on the heels of the 20-year-old’s production for Pride on Kendrick Lamar’s album Damn. Martians and Syd started their careers in a group setting, though – the hip-hop collective Odd Future – and therefore have experience of smartly interweaving solo projects with collaborative playing, alongside talents such as Tyler the Creator and Frank Ocean.

On their fourth album, Hive Mind, the slick R&B – borrowing heavily from Timbaland and Pharrell – and languorous vocals of previous records Purple Naked Ladies, Feel Good and Ego Death remain. More so, though, Hive Mind feels like a showcase of the band’s individual talents; Patrick Paige II delivers the nonchalant bassline on lead single Roll (Burbank Funk), Syd’s silken falsetto adorns the half-time groove of Come Together, and Martians plays out the same number with a skit inspired by the frantic synth-bass of Thundercat.

When rhythmically charged with the tambourine-shaking bounce of Roll, Come Over and Beat Goes On, the Internet tie their talent together and find a unique voice, interweaving subaqueous synths with high-pitched guitars and sludgy bass lines. Yet when they frequently turn downbeat they can stray into pastiche: Syd’s fragile falsetto struggles to carry the minimal melody of Stay the Night; unimaginative refrains like “Baby, next time I’ll bring you flowers / next time I’ll take you out” on Mood are outright lacklustre.

This slower second half of Hive Mind can fade into the background, as tracks such as Next Time Humble Pie and It Gets Better bleed into one another without the distinctive melodies of the opening numbers. Despite this sloppy editing, the Internet seem unlikely to disband permanently into their solo projects. Playing as a group can bring out the best of their individual talents, even if the connection doesn’t always hold.


Ammar Kalia

The GuardianTramp

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