Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

The Internet – Roll (Burbank Funk)

It’s Ungoogleable Names Wednesday! Also “The Internet have been around since 2011, do you feel old” Wednesday…


Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: A case study in how far a truly perfect bassline can get you, given a set of performers who know not to let themselves get in the way.

Julian Axelrod: How often do solo ventures make a band sound more unified? After a year where The Internet’s members followed their individual muses down the R&B rabbit hole, a nervous fan could expect some discord upon their return. Luckily, “Roll” is a joyous funk free-for-all and a seamless blend of their sensibilities. After three albums with Syd at the forefront, Steve Lacy steps into the spotlight. But calling him the lead vocalist is misleading, since Syd’s silky harmonies and Christopher Smith’s clattering drums are just as prominent in the mix. At times the sound is smooth to a fault; I love Steve, but his voice is so unassuming it can fade into the background. Then again, The Internet is nothing if not a testament to one grand, unifying sound.

Alfred Soto: A nice jam with thump and thwock: interstitial material in search of an album sequence.

Vikram Joseph: Far from their soulful, explorative best, “Roll” feels flimsy and insubstantial, neither much of a song nor much of a mood. The component parts are certainly handy — fluttering, suggestive bass; wonky synth jabs — but the drifting, ambivalent vocals don’t provide any grip, leaving that bassline rolling around in search of a coherent song.

Katherine St Asaph: A project with an ephemeral name and, once, ephemeral-sounding music. Less so lately, and particularly on “Roll,” with a preternaturally assured bassline one imagines could keep spooling out forever, until it spans the whole equator.

Nortey Dowuona: A smooth, lilting bass slides in over open hand-sliced drums, then is joined by squishy, ethereal synths as Steve slides atop it, off-key and dully mumbling. Syd sweeps him back into the saddle with soft, airy hums and whoops.

Juan F. Carruyo: I don’t own a car, but if I did, I’d be blasting this rolling down the streets. 

Rebecca A. Gowns: I live right around the corner from Burbank, and this really captures the vibe. Studios and film sets, areas of creation and concentrated money, shielded by fortresses of mysterious office buildings. If you’re working there, you step outside after hours, and all the activity has stopped — it’s dark and still. If you stay the night there, you might wake up with this groove running in your head, and you’re suddenly compelled to drive to a Mexican/American diner to pick up a breakfast burrito stuffed with avocado and crispy french fries. You could try to cook it at home with all the same ingredients, but it just wouldn’t taste the same. Burbank is like that — totally commonplace, humdrum, suburban, but oozing with secret sexy Hollywood magic around the edges. This song is like that too.

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