The Internet's 'Hive Mind' Is A Soundtrack To The Slow Burn Of Summer

Jul 20, 2018
Originally published on July 20, 2018 6:37 pm

When The Internet first debuted in 2011, the common joke was that the musicians had picked an unfortunate name for fans who wanted to find anything about them on, you know, the Internet. But those cheap snickers quickly faded as the group's sly, slick funk sensibility took hold, even for search engines. Seriously, Google them.

In recent years, the band members have each embarked on solo projects, sparking fears The Internet had shut down. Now, the band is back and with a new release called Hive Mind.

After the group's critically lauded record Ego Death dropped in 2015, all five members — vocalist Syd, guitarist Steve Lacy, producer Matt Martians, drummer Christopher Smith and bassist Patrick Paige II — went off to pursue individual projects. Despite the time apart, The Internet sounds as cohesive and smart as ever in Hive Mind (as the name might suggest.) And the group picked a perfect time to put out this kind of album: the peak of summer.

There's an annual race among pop musicians to claim the title of song of the summer as their own. Nominees tend to be lively party anthems meant for afternoon beach bashes or midnight dance floors, but the grooves on Hive Mind help score summertime's less boisterous but no less sublime moments. Think lazy afternoons in air conditioned rooms, magic-hour dinner dates, and of course, those late night minutes when the best bad decisions are made.

Perhaps more than The Internet's previous efforts, Hive Mind hums with a sensual energy from both Steve Lacy's hypnotic guitar work and the cool, seductive charm of Syd. The fact she's mostly singing about sex and relationships is already telegraphed musically, but it never hurts to have her croons about love and lust accentuate the mood.

Alas, as is the nature of summertime, the end always creeps up sooner than you'd like, but with Hive Mind, The Internet gifts us a slice of summer's good vibes to carry well into the weeks when the days grow short.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

The Internet - it's not just a global communications and data system. It's also the name of a band from Los Angeles. Formed seven years ago, The Internet quickly became one of R&B's most-acclaimed new groups. The band's latest release is called "Hive Mind." And reviewer Oliver Wang has this review.

OLIVER WANG, BYLINE: When The Internet first debuted in 2011, the common joke was that the musicians had picked an unfortunate name for fans who wanted to find anything about them on, you know, the Internet. But those cheap snickers quickly faded as the group's sly and slick funk sensibility took hold even for search engines. Seriously, Google them.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LOVE SONG - 1")

THE INTERNET: (Singing) What happened to make you, to make you start to hate me?

WANG: After the group's critically lauded record "Ego Death" dropped in 2015, all five members, including producer Matt Martians, drummer Christopher Smith and bassist Patrick Paige, went off to pursue individual projects. But with "Hive Mind," true to title, The Internet sounds as cohesive and smart as ever. They picked a perfect time to put out this kind of album - the peak of summer.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WANNA BE")

THE INTERNET: (Singing) Early in the morning, she's running through my mind again. Girl, you got me wondering if we should be more than friends.

WANG: There's an annual race among pop musicians to claim the title of song of the summer. Nominees tend to be lively party anthems meant for afternoon beach bashes or midnight dance floors. But the grooves on "Hive Mind" help score summertime's less boisterous but no less sublime moments. Think lazy afternoons in air-conditioned rooms, magic-hour dinner dates and, of course, those late, late-night minutes when the best bad decisions are made.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "STAY THE NIGHT")

THE INTERNET: (Singing) Anger, all the misbehavior got you feeling anxious all the time. Maybe you should stay the night. Maybe you should stay the night. Maybe you should stay the night. Why don't you stay the night?

WANG: Perhaps more than The Internet's previous efforts, "Hive Mind" hums with a sensual energy that owes much to both Steve Lacy's hypnotic guitar work and the cool, seductive charm of vocalist Syd. That she's mostly singing about sex and relationships is already telegraphed in the music, but it never hurts to have her croons about love and lust accentuating the mood.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MOOD")

THE INTERNET: (Singing) Baby, next time I'll bring you flowers - roses, exotic daisies. Next time I take you out, girl, don't you keep me waiting.

WANG: Alas, as is the nature of summertime, the end always creeps up sooner than you'd like. But with "Hive Mind," The Internet gifts us a slice of summer's good vibes to carry well into the weeks when the days grow short.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "IT GETS BETTER (WITH TIME)")

THE INTERNET: (Singing) There's something wrong because you seem mighty low.

SHAPIRO: Our reviewer Oliver Wang is a professor of sociology at Cal State, Long Beach. And he also co-hosts the album appreciation podcast "Heat Rocks."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "IT GETS BETTER (WITH TIME)")

THE INTERNET: (Singing) Probably been there before. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.