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The Lowdown: The fourth full-length studio album from The Internet and the band’s first release independent of the Odd Future imprint, Hive Mind is an almost seamless follow-up to their critically acclaimed 2015 album, Ego Death. They best the previous effort with full-bodied production and cleaner, more-focused writing.
The Good: Each of the band members’ respective solo projects served as fertile ground for the creation of Hive Mind, fostering the individual growth necessary to produce a well-balanced and explicitly confident group project after three solid formal albums that did more to showcase their ability to serve as keepers of the minimal funk pop flame than to push their work into new and exhilarating sonic territory. Hive Mind is inclusive of lo-fi bedroom beats, post-Soulquarian punk and soul, and the mothership tipico at the root of modern funk nostalgia. It reaches into club culture as deftly as it relaxes into burnt sugar. Lush arpeggios are matched by vocals that absolutely levitate. The band’s acute attention to detail and commitment to singularity create the kind of nuance that makes Hive Mind’s most effervescent compositions practically glitter.
The Bad: The Internet is a well-oiled machine on Hive Mind, but also frighteningly comfortable reclining in the pocket to vamp on the aesthetic signature they have perfected. In defaulting to the latter, they lose sight of the opportunity to create a concrete emotional or thematic arc because the album – though undeniably beautiful – rarely departs from their newly elevated but all too familiar two-step cool to trouble the water until the end of the release.
The Verdict: Though brief, a tardy reprise of the adventurous sound that opens the release is an exciting display of The Internet’s true brilliance, which finds them absolutely nailing every transition and avoiding the anticlimactic ending suggested by a number of the preceding tracks with a pair of stone-cold bops. Thankfully, the wins on Hive Mind are far greater than the sum of its losses.
Essential Tracks: “Come Together”, “Roll (Burbank Funk)”, “Beat Goes On”, and “Hold On”