Over the past year, Brockhampton has emerged as one of independent music’s most intriguing collectives, a self-proclaimed boy band with a sound that stretches from grimy hip-hop with southern flair to melancholy acoustic music. If they are indeed the new age boy band, they’re a far cry from the assembly-line creations of the late ’90s; racially diverse and from cities across the U.S., they’re more a rising voice of underrepresented than a wish-fulfillment vehicle for teenage girls.
Brockhampton member Matt Champion has only released a handful of song over the last couple of years, but newest single “Punks” suggests that much of his time spent out of the public eye has seen him honing the ambition suggested on songs like “El Dorado” and “Burn.”
“Nostalgia has a beautiful fucked up ring to it in my head,” says Champion via text. “I feel like ‘Punks’ brought me closer to the younger me that didn’t think too much about shit, just lived. I just let the moments seep in my skin, feels pretty crazy. I wanted to feel that chaotic innocence again. I don’t think it ever left, thankfully.”
“Punks” plays like pop music for gutter kids, real and apocryphal, kicking cans and longing to escape to a world larger than their dreams. As the introductory single to the project of the same name, “Punks” crystallizes Champion’s visual aesthetic and Twitter philosophizing into a matching musical philosophy, a crossroads of hip-hop, rock, and pop influences that justifies its title and feels like the enjoyably messy culmination of Brockhampton’s influences. Listen below.