New Jersey producers DRIVEBY and Roper Williams have shared a collaborative album titled Armored Mewtwo Has No Friends, featuring vocals from fellow New Jersey artist Fatboi Sharif. The three share a natural chemistry throughout the record, as made evident from the first track “Status Check”, which features a droning, psychedelic instrumental centred around gritty samples and rich bass. Over top, Sharif’s baritone vocals meld with the beat to create a claustrophobic yet enjoyable soundscape. “Status Check” transitions smoothly into “Change of Plans”, which adjusts to a slower pace with a relaxed, minimalistic keys and subtle percussion. Showcasing the artists’ diversity early in the project, “Change of Plans” opposes the first track’s glitchier aesthetic with a smooth, lo-fi beat.
Songs like “Extended Journey Into Space” and “Starwind” take on an expansive sound palette with slowed down, reverb-soaked samples that feel deeply layered, while “Alone” and “Neue Drum” feel more compact and jazzier. The project’s dynamics keep the listener engaged while also remaining highly cohesive, allowing the producers to switch styles effortlessly throughout the tracklist.
An album highlight appears in the pensive, nocturnal “Traveling”, a track that finds cosmic, airy keys ringing out atop laid-back percussion. Here, the producers use of space is intriguing, with the beat feeling simultaneously straightforward and dense. They re-create this effect on other tracks throughout the album, including the subtly grandiose “In Space Floating”, which features twisting, abstract vocal samples and grooving drums, giving the song an otherworldly yet infectious rhythm.
A multi-faceted project from DRIVEBY and Roper Williams featuring heavy contributions from Fatboi Sharif, Armored Mewtwo Has No Friends is a diverse offering that mixes lo-fi sounds with noise and glitch elements. A forward-thinking record that provides many pleasant surprises, this mercurial offering beckons multiple re-listens to grasp its layered nature.
Listen to Armored Mewtwo Has No Friends now: