The world’s hardest working boyband BROCKHAMPTON are back in business. The young goofy boyband energy we associate with BROCKHAMPTON, has hit a turn in the road. Throughout the album opener, “NO HALO”, those hyped up youngster vibes have been replaced with soft spoken feelings. Perhaps last year’s departure of Ameer, which we all know about, but don’t necessarily want to be reminded of, has uncovered this more reserved and personal style to the San Marcos group.
I don’t think that this is a song they could’ve made two years ago. Even if they tried. Their trademark attack of attitude, has been benched for the California dazey vocals of Deb Never. Resulting in a slow guitar driven record, “NO HALO” really hits the nail on the head from the get-go. Deb Never makes the song, kicking off the track with eerie but equally soothing vocals, it’s quite difficult not to get lost in this one. Wack it on during your next walk home, you’ll be there in no time.
No hard style spitting bars, this shift in dynamic is that first breath after a fresh chewing gum. It’s a change, but not for the worst. At all. “GINGER”, the title track of the band’s fifth studio album bears remnants of the xx’s “On Hold”. It sounds like it’s fallen off the back of their tour bus, and landed straight into the boy’s hands. And if so, which it most likely did, fair enough. They are both good tunes. This is also another supporting statement towards the group’s significant changes. Who would’ve thought The xx & BROCKHAMTON would ever be spoken in the same breath? NOT ME!
“GINGER” explains that we all have our “own shit” to deal with in life, so I think we’ve found the most relatable track on the record here. Sitting up on melancholy hill, the final result gives us quite a groovy number. The entire record has many references to the departure of founding member Ameer Vann. Although, “DEARLY DEPARTED” sees the group expressing how his actions have individually effected them. During the first verse, Kevin Abstract speaks of the devastating impacts that Ameer’s life of lies had brought. Disturbed by his actions, Kevin makes a statement that what happened will never been forgotten, however crushing it is.
It’s clear that the boys made the correct decision when parting ways with Vann, but they simultaneously understand how much of a dent it has left in the group. A member who had so much influence to their success, has become a stranger within seconds.
The instrumental on this song is huge. Spacey drums accompanied with synth, pays dividends to the saying that less is more. A perfect balance, with around the kit Tom fills on a long list for potential MVP of this track.
Kevin and Matt both have strong verses, but Dom’s contribution is a steal the spotlight moment. Saving the best until last, he comes in with a verse which I can only describe as seeing red. Speaking of how Ameer set up a robbery on one of his own friends, the verse is 100% anger. You can feel the frustration elevating word by word, and you can actually hear Dom throw his headphones to the ground, storming out the studio once he finishes. Ending on a not so harsh, considering the circumstances, “MOTHERFUCKER”. Romil has recently stated in a 'Genius' interview, that Dom actually broke his headphones during this moment. It’s definitely a verse that get you gassed up, so I don’t blame him. Hell, I was pumped up ready to brake my headphones too after hearing this, but me and the BROCKHAMPTON boys seem to be on a slightly different wage.
Consisting of so many members, the broad range of individuality would seem hard enough to try and keep in balance. Guest appearances from Deb Never, Slowthai, Victor Roberts and Ryan Beatty could seem a little overkill. But it works. Too many cooks can spoil a broth, yet the collaborations on this album work a treat. It’s incredibly refreshing to see the group succeed at their new style of heartfelt music and lyrical transparency.