Downloading an Odd Future record bears a 50/50 chance of an escapade into the iconoclastic. The track listing for Purple Naked Ladies bags the mother of all anathemas – ‘Cunt’ – and carries on to cover all the bases; cocaine, girls in the nude, initially puzzling acronyms with reference to the word “fuck”.
Despite this, there isn’t much offence in its content: The Internet’s debut is a tempered narrative of Sapphic love, of woman on women.
The Internet is a duo of Matt Martians and Syd Tha Kid, though the latter has the more perceptible presence in the collaboration. She is in some ways the backbone of the OFWGKTA clan, as a producer, DJ, and provider of the Odd Future gang’s base at her parent’s house (she is also their only girl).
The concept of hearing a sound from the centre of the Odd Future hub is at once compelling and paradoxical, comparable to putting a creative director on centre-stage. This leap between roles isn’t fully made; Purple Naked Ladies is a two-pronged effort between Syd’s songs and tracks where guests take over. ‘Lincoln’ would better sit as a track attributed to Left Brain & Mike G featuring The Internet; the same applies for ‘Visions’ (feat. Coco O) and ‘Ode to a Dream’ (feat. Kilo Kish and Coco. O).
The album runs on like a shameless promo of friends and co-workers, a reflection of the Wolf Gang ethos. In fact, it’s like listening in to a succession of private jams and collaborations with the aesthetic of an Odd Future scrapbook.
As a result, the album shares the sensibility of a mixtape, with a conglomerate of disparate short tracks. Scraps of samples and undeveloped ideas are put end to end to form ‘songs’; ‘They Say/Shangrila’ breaks down three minutes in and comes back at a completely different tempo, accompanied by an oddly placed refrain referencing Aaliyah to “try and try again.”
Unusual chord progressions float around in a mash up of electronic sounds and neo-soul. The result is a sound that ranges from the heights of Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill to the lows of the British-born artist Estelle, whose uninvited influence is particularly prevalent on ‘Cunt’. The Internet takes the vibrancy of these artists and wraps them in an unwelcome codeine haze. This is an album which is unsuccessful at showcasing its artist, by a set of producers who are shy of the headlights.By Hana Teraie-Wood