Personnel: Destiny Valadez (snare drum); Chloe Clancy (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Vic Wainstein.
Recording information: Casa Chica, Malibu, CA; East West Recording Studios, Hollywood, CA; Paramount Recording Studios, Hollywood, CA; The Trap, Los Angeles, CA.
When the Odd Future crew burst into the mainstream with their first wave of label-backed releases, it felt as though Pandora's box had been opened, unleashing a torrent of chaotic, youthful energy upon the hip-hop world. While members Tyler and Earl Sweatshirt drew initial plaudits with their profane nihilism, duo MellowHype emerged as an altogether different kind of presence. Still cloaked in a shroud of blunted-out darkness, Hodgy Beats and Left Brain continue to deliver sonic uneasiness on Numbers. With a sound that's more subtly sinister than their other OF comrades, the album finds the pair upping the ante with a collection of songs that feels more visceral than their earlier work, while still maintaining enough of a haze that that it feels distinctly like MellowHype. This helps to create an almost intoxicating mix of aggression and dissonance. The way the songs work to rile up, confuse, and generally poke at the listener from all angles makes the group feel like the hip-hop equivalent of black metal (and not just because the album's packaging features an upside-down cross and pentagram), wrapping Hodgy's hostility in Left Brain beats that feel like traditional club bangers that took a detour through the uncanny valley as they unsettle dazed listeners while they try to put their finger on what exactly is wrong. It's that line between accessible and alienating that MellowHype have so brilliantly walked, making Numbers an engaging album from some of Odd Future's best and brightest. ~ Gregory Heaney