Ego Death was more than an album for me. In addition to it being my first time experiencing The Internet it’s a favorite of mine from 2015. The hammock-on-an-island vibe it creates is nothing short of fantastic. I’ll never forget the moment it first graced my ears. Although the neo-soul band’s songwriting needed a thorough polish, the album’s refreshing sound allowed Syd to thrive. Her warm, intoxicating vocals transport listeners to a tropical getaway. Let’s fast forward, though. Released a week ago (7/20) The Internet’s fourth studio album shows growth in many ways. The lyrics here are more mature than before. Tracks like “Come Together” and “It Gets Better (With Time)” give access to the group’s collective philosophies. They’re connecting with fans on a whole new level. However, that isn’t to say The Internet waste too much time politicking. Hive Mind is all about the grooves, baby.
Utterly funky basslines and infectious vocal lines harmonize beautifully on this studio effort. While some of the hooks here are less than memorable, how the group veers from songwriting traditions impressed me overall. Tracks such as “Next Time / Humble Pie” and “Beat Goes On” at first appear to extend past their limit. Yet with further listens, I found the sonic world The Internet crafted invited me to paint my own perceptions while listening. The band doesn’t overload their songs with pensive ideas, moral stances or commercial agendas. They simply want to dance. Power track “La Di Da” is easily one of the year’s best. If you don’t at least roll your shoulders ten times during its three-and-a-half-minute runtime, there’s something wrong. Additionally, “Stay the Night” is a sultry entreaty sure to enhance more than its fair share of candlelit dinners. There is so much to like here regarding musicality.
Nevertheless Syd’s vocal deliveries indeed grow slightly stale across this hour of tunes. While I do applaud the band for including Steve Lacy’s vocals, I could’ve used more variety. In the past year and some change, Syd, Lacy and Matt Martians all released solid solo projects. Although Martians doesn’t have the smoothest singing voice, his contributions could add zest every so often. Since Syd’s range remains tight for the most part her delivery loses its momentum about six or seven songs in. I will say, though, her performances on “La Di Da” and “Hold On” are excellent. Personally, I would’ve appreciated a feature on this tracklist. Even if it was a minor appearance in the background. Despite Hive Mind‘s organic success, a new voice would’ve added some much needed breadth. Ultimately, The Internet have once again proven that successful art comes from the heart, not the pocket.