BROCKHAMPTON – TM

Signing off in style...

Ah, yes. Like Frank Ocean in 2016 with ‘Endless’ and then ‘Blonde’, BROCKHAMPTON have hit us with the one-two surprise album punch. After dropping ‘final’ LP ‘The Family’ yesterday, the band immediately announced another record, ‘TM’. Whereas ‘The Family’ was essentially Kevin Abstract’s project, with no verses from other members, ‘TM’ is quite the opposite; everyone brings their lyrical ability and performing ability to the table for one last serving of BROCKHAMPTON’s genius. 

Opener ‘FMG’ feels like the big brother of ‘J’OUVERT’ (from 2018’s ‘iridescence’), huge sub basses blended with noisy, glitchy instrumentation and a simple yet hard-hitting trap insired beat. Matt Champion brings his lowkey charm and swagger to the track, carefully rapping over the machine gun hi-hats. He also comes in hot on ‘NEW SHOES’, giving one of his cleanest flows ever heard on a BH track. This cut has moments from all of the members – hearing Merlyn Wood’s signature ‘MERLYN!’ adlib is enough to bring a smile to any fan. His energy is unmatched, rapping frantically over one of the best instrumentals on the record. Kevin Abstract opens the track with a killer verse, and lyrical wizard Dom McLennon rounds it offAs per their genre bending ethos, there are plenty of non-rager moments on the record. ‘MAN ON THE MOON’ keeps it laidback, and old-school-BH with its pitched up vocal works. It leans more into dance music and pop than previous efforts, tinted with MGMT-style drums and synthesisers.

Much of the lyrical content on ‘TM’ tackles the last thing they feel they need to say – the end. Throughout the record, all of the members combat thoughts and feelings about the band, as well as reliving moments from throughout their career. Huge amounts of fan service lyrically, but also feels like the closure the members need. 

Closing track ‘GOODBYE’ trades hip-hop for an indie, lo-fi house moment with its pulsating keys and murky drums. It’s an instrumental that wouldn’t feel out of place on a Jean Dawson or Joji project. It’s helmed by Joba and Matt, bathed in AutoTune and reverb as they discuss memories, highlights and lowlights from their lives in BROCKHAMPTON. It has a coming-of-age quality in timbre and tone, feeling like it could easily slot into a film soundtrack. ‘GOODBYE’ is arguably the group’s most low-key closing track in their discography, but that completely works in their favour here. Sub three-minutes of chilled dance pop, supported by emotional lyricism from the two. A fitting end. 

‘The Family’ was the album the band needed, and ‘TM’ feels like a classic BROCKHAMPTON record. Immaculate production, genre shapeshifting, and some of the cleanest verses from the group in quite some time. There’s no filler on the record either – just eleven tracks of pure BH instant classics. We’re all holding out hope that this isn’t really the last full-length album by BROCKHAMPTON. But if it is, we couldn’t have asked for a better final project. 

9/10

Words: James Mellen

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