After five albums in just over two years, it’s a surprise that Brockhampton has been able to keep up such creative momentum. But with Brockhampton’s latest release, the eclectic boy band is proving that with every new album, they are becoming ever more self-assured.
The boys of Brockhampton, known for their outlandishly and cataclysmically curated bars, exercise restraint on GINGER. While part of the group’s charm is its sonic unpredictability, this album sees each member explore their exuberance in the context of more controlled melodies and concisely syncopated verses. GINGER is a sign of maturity, of editorial polish and of balance. Brockhampton has clearly learned when to slam on the gas and when to effortlessly drift around a corner.
GINGER starts strong with two acoustically-grounded heavy-hitters. First up is “NO HALO,” which begins with a subtle guitar rhythm and an echoing hymn of “I don’t know where I’m goin’ / If I gotta take the high road, I’m rollin’.” This soft pre-chorus primes the thematic palette for this song and the album as a whole. These lyrics and the rest of the tracks are ones painted in thoughts of security with uncertainty and with musical and spiritual magnanimity.
Within the confines of “NO HALO,” wildcard and free spirit Joba trades high-pitched wailing and fantastical lyrics for a supple and ethereal verse about his off-and-on again relationship with God. Joba wields tranquil honesty and stripped-down, trailing vocals to create something exceptionally reflective and surprisingly vulnerable.
“SUGAR” follows “NO HALO” with a less introspective but equally captivating tune. The chorus is a tender, gentle call to working at love: no bells and no whistles, just angel acoustics and intimate bars. Ryan Beatty’s soft voice draped over a delicate rhythm melts into Kevin Abstract singing the bridge, “Back and forth / I’ll take that if that’s all you asking for / With my legs on the dashboard / Only thing in my pocket is my passport, pa-passport.”
Abstract’s lines signal an evolution from the group’s big hit “BLEACH”; Abstract forgot his passport two years ago, but he’s now armed and ready to go wherever his passion takes him. Abstract finds himself crooning a more calculated canticle of wanderlust without losing sight of the thematic elements the band has honed over the past two years.
In fact, Brockhampton has explored a collection of musical styles throughout the past two years. The SATURATION trilogy sported buoyant and funky R&B collaborations. IRIDESCENCE melds kinetically metallic beats with violent and grunge hip-hop rhythms. On GINGER, Brockhampton meshes all that it has developed over these seminal albums into a record of mellifluous earworm tunes and immensely reflective lyrics that demonstrate to listeners just how much it’s members have learned from each other and from themselves.
The track “VICTOR ROBERTS” brings GINGER to a close. Beatty trills an ode to not just the resilience and bonds of this group, but to Brockhampton’s fans as well. The chorus accentuates that these are bandmates who have always and will always bolster one another, musically and personally.
And when Beatty sings, “Thank God for my bitches still sticking with me / Thank God, when I talk, I know you listen to me,” Brockhampton fans are surely listening, too.