In 2019, BROCKHAMPTON delivered one of their most commercially successful singles in “SUGAR,” a cut from their fifth album, GINGER. They were riding high on the wave of its momentum when the pandemic hit, sending the band's members into their own bubbles of isolation even as they remained productive, releasing a handful of singles and video content. The fruits of their labor culminate with ROADRUNNER: NEW LIGHT, NEW MACHINE, which brims with both the political and personal tension of the time and stands out as their most clear-eyed and collaborative release to date. In addition to consulting with legendary producers RZA and Rick Rubin, the band finds complementary counterparts in rappers like Danny Brown (“BUZZCUT”) and JPEGMAFIA (“CHAIN ON”), with whom they share a similar kind of eccentric creativity. On their own, though, the sprawling group is flush with a multitude of talent that they thoughtfully showcase without sacrificing cohesion. Decidedly roused and rap-oriented tracks like “WINDOWS” and “DON'T SHOOT UP THE PARTY” slot nicely alongside more soulful, R&B-leaning songs like “I'LL TAKE YOU ON” and the gorgeously somber “DEAR LORD.” Together, they make a multihued collage that embodies the spirited fluidity of BROCKHAMPTON. This Plus Pack edition adds four new tracks that further display their kaleidoscopic approach: “PRESSURE / BOW WOW” moves from furious to melodic, while the pair of “JEREMIAH” tracks reveal how pitch changes can transform a song's aura. Ahead of its release, Kevin Abstract announced on Twitter that ROADRUNNER: NEW LIGHT, NEW MACHINE would be the band's penultimate album. If that proves true, with this release, they will exit having left few stones unturned—evolution is an infinite process, but BROCKHAMPTON's (near) final form still resembles actualization.

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