Brockhampton, Roadrunner: New lightweight new machine
Brockhampton calls it a day. It comes straight from the mouth of the 13-headed horse – the hip-hop boy band is releasing two albums this year, then they’re done. Finished. Their announcement comes after some turbulent years of kicking a band member out for sexual assault, regrouping them and ultimately struggling to overcome the chaotic eclecticism for which they first became known.
The latter issue appears on the first of this year’s two albums Roadrunner: New Light New Machine. It starts with the single “Buzzcut,” a confrontational volley fueled by Danny Brown’s hyena cackles, and then slides into the quirky grooves of “Chain On,” a distracting reflection on heritage and the shackles of responsibility. From then on, however, the album is increasingly broken. There is little evidence that Brockhampton enjoyed making this music. It sounds like they feel like they have no choice.
Many of these tracks stand on their own. “The Light” looks over his shoulder, with big eyes full of paranoia, full of questions and doubts. With its eerie synthesizers and screeching delivery, “Windows” is reminiscent of the dark psychedely of Cypress Hills’ 2018 album “Elephants on Acid”. But that then jumps to skittery R&B with “I’ll pick you up”. Nothing connects. Brockhampton sounds less confident than confident – you can’t blame them. But it is probably the right time to take a bow.
Hover, This is really going to hurt
Digging the bones of a past relationship is no easy task. It’s even harder to do so in 10 tracks that explore conflicting emotions with disarming candor. That is exactly what the London-based band Flyte does on their extraordinary second album This is Really Going to Hurt.
Inspired by the end of eight-year relationship with frontman Will Taylor, the album turns away from the glam rock influences of Lou Reed and Bowie from Flyte’s 2017 debut and instead opts for a blissful sound from the Seventies in California. The band has benefited from their LA recording base by inviting seasoned session players to contribute beautiful string sections. Producers Andro Sarlo (Big Thief, Bon Iver) and Justin Raisen (Angel Olsen) give songs whose notes gently drift downward like dust caught in a ray of sunshine a certain fragility.
It’s hard to imagine many other contemporary albums arranged as beautifully as this one. But Flyte is less concerned with modern influences than with artists like Tommy James, whose 1968 song “Crimson and Clover” is lovingly mentioned in the lush acoustic guitar twangs in “Trying to Break Your Heart”. Fleetwood Mac follows the harmonies of “There is a Woman”. The hazy, psychedelic croons on “Mistress America” are pure byrds.
Taylor’s willingness to express his feelings with such openness is commendable. His mourning howl over “Losing You” disturbs the tempered instrumentation: “Just tell me that you want me, I don’t care if it’s true.” He growls at potential lovers in a song and predicts nothing but disaster. Before that, he had flown over the nifty piano on “I’m Got a Girl” and said to his ex-bandmate: “This show is over / Turn off the lights and fade to black / I was your biggest fan / Now I want mine Money back. “As the album progresses, his words become lighter and more accepting. When he reaches” Never Get to Heaven “you feel that certain wounds have started to heal. This is a very special album indeed.