Hive Mind is a deeply serene experience characterized by moments of phantasmagoric beauty and a heartfelt sense of inner peace. Over the course of the record, the neo-soul group is able to convey a whimsical sense of love through Syd’s soft-spoken vocals and the groups thoughtful instrumentation. As I listened, I was struck with a sense that this was an album made by people who had a genuine love for creating music and artistic expression. It felt like a culmination of everything they’d learned since being with Odd Future that didn’t forget the sense of camaraderie, pride, and love that seemed intrinsic to their less than stellar music of those days.
In all the ways Tyler The Creator’s Flower Boy was a maturation of his talents, Hive Mind is the development of all the pretty, glitzy sounds we’ve heard the band (often recklessly) toy with over the course of their last few records. The bouncy, dreamy neo-soul sound that the group has been seemingly trying to achieve since their inception has finally taken shape on tracks like “Look What U Started” and “Stay The Night.” Patrick Paige’s bass playing is given much more room to shine on the former track, though what really epitomizes his contribution is the bass line at the beginning of “Come Together.” It’s almost shameful (but not unappreciated) that it gets undercut by the more tranquil guitars from Steve Lacy, but each time that bass line is worked back in, the song is given a warm bounce that unites perfectly with Syd’s chorus.
Unity seems to be the theme of the record, each member firing on all cylinders to make the first truly cohesive Internet record. Moments like “La Di Da” fuse the strength of Christopher Smith’s drumming with Lacy’s guitar melodies while also managing to successfully implement all of the resident vocalists. It’s such a lively song and it seems to follow in the footsteps of some of Anderson .Paak’s dancier tracks. What’s so great about this record is the way this unity is utilized for such varying purposes, as exemplified by the much more mellow “Stay the Night.” It combines the same talents as before, but for the purpose of creating a much warmer, sleek R&B track. For the first time in The Internet’s history it doesn’t feel like you come just to listen to one member dominate a track with their individual talent. Everyone shares the stage in a way that demonstrates their commitment to the sound they’d chased after for so long.
This sound, however, falters in that, when it is mellow, it’s sometimes so mellow that it drifts away into little more than background music. Certain songs, like “Bravo,” “Mood,” or “Hold On,” feature this same sense of well organized talent, but they don’t make any attempt to stand out amongst the other songs on the album. Furthermore, they go by unremarkably. It’s like driving down the road you live on; it’s not bad, but it isn’t exactly exciting.
Otherwise, this album seems to be the fulfillment of The Internet’s potential much in the way Blonde was Frank Ocean’s, Flower Boy was Tyler The Creator’s, and I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside was Earl’s. It’s heartwarming in a way to see the old Odd Future cast and crew flourish into the artists that they are always destined to be. The day of colorful tumblr shenanigans are over, but the music has only gotten better.