Following the release of their critically-acclaimed Ego Death, it only seemed like a matter of time until The Internet was an influential force in the R&B/Hip-Hop space. Then the group went on hiatus, citing development of their individual crafts/careers as their reasoning. Fans, understandably, were left hungry.
I’m so glad that they are back.
So as a fan who patiently waited for another Internet project, let me just gush a bit. This album was nothing short of fantastic. Their time invested into their individual skills seems to have paid dividends. Syd brings her enviable vocal talents as always but plays around with newer flows. Steve Lacy’s deep/deliberate bars naturally compliment Syd’s echo-y vocals and kills it on limited minutes. The most captivating elements are the instrumentals. The percussion is sharp and minimal, pacing tracks well without distracting from the melodic focus. The baselines are so dense and luxurious that I could feel my crappy earbuds struggle to keep up (see. “Come Together,” “Look What U Started”).
Zoom out on to the album in aggregate and we hear a successful exploration of an upbeat funk sound that’s felt through those smooth baselines. Hive Mind still maintains more than enough adherence to the traditional, endearing it to longtime fans. It also boasts strong diversity from track-to-track, serving as a multitool album. Want to impress your date? Try “Come Over” or “Mood.” Hanging out with friends and want a good vibe? “La Di Da” is smooth and groovy. Are you really going through it right now? “It Gets Better” or “Bravo” may help you out.
However, like most 9s, there is a reason Hive Mind is not a clean ten and that is because there is still some left to be desired. Although both Syd and Steve Lacy are individually phenomenal, there are stretches of the tape where Syd dominates tracks and boxes Steve out with her vocals. Lacy absolutely balls out on the verses where he is given more leeway. A bit more of his presence would not only increase the album’s vocal diversity but give listeners a greater helping of their already fantastic sonic contrast.
RECS: “Come Over,” “Look What you Started,” “La Di Da”