3.5/5 Anchors

Evan McHenry, Copy

The iconic self-proclaimed boyband, Brockhampton, is back with their sixth studio album, “ROADRUNNER: NEW LIGHT, NEW MACHINE.” The preceding full album, 2019’s “GINGER,” was a downcast, slow-burning meditation on the group’s issues. While it was a great project, it left many fans missing the in-your-face enthusiasm and pace that brought the group into the mainstream and was present in the “SATURATION” trilogy. 

On previous albums, the boyband has relied on its large cast of members and included virtually no other artists outside of the group. This makes sense, as their current lineup provides a great amount of sonic diversity as is. However, on “ROADRUNNER,” there are several well-chosen features. Danny Brown delivers some good and unexpected bars on “BUZZCUT,” the opening track, which has a style that harks back to the fast-paced bangers “SATURATION” fans remember fondly. 

Despite the fresh and fast tracks on the album, it would be impossible to ignore one of the other central themes: grief. On “THE LIGHT,” Joba opens up about his father’s recent death and offers a frantic and heartbreaking verse. A mix of distorted electric guitar samples and drums form the instrumental. The best track on the album is “OLD NEWS.” A subtle guitar hook guides various auto tuned vocals from Jabari Manwa and Matt Champion. “OLD NEWS” feels as though Brockhampton have realized their full potential, given their vast array of talent, and channeled it into a silky smooth track.

Overall, “ROADRUNNER” is certainly another step forward for the group. However, its main shortcoming is a recurring one: the group is massively talented and large, and sometimes it feels as if they aren’t capitalizing on their full potential. This group is capable of producing some transcendently good tracks, but at times it feels like they’re resting on their laurels somewhat, and so it will be interesting to see in which direction they decide to go on their next project.