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iris six
Artist: Iris
Title: Six
Genre: Synth Pop / Electronic
Release Date: 23rd August 2019
Label: Dependent Records


Album Review

IRIS was formed in 1993 by Reagan Jones and Matthew Morris but first under the moniker FORGIVING IRIS. Both had met at college and being influenced by ERASURE, DEPECHE MODE and the likes they started to play covers at shows in the area of Austin, Texas. In 1999 they changed the band’s name into IRIS and released its first full length album ‘Disconnect’ for which the band was rewarded with ‘Best album’ and ‘Best band’ in 2000 at the American Synth Pop Awards. Already after the release of the first album and the following shows Reagan and Mat separated as they didn’t come to terms about the musical direction. Andrew Sega then joined the band after working with Reagan on some tracks which resulted later in the song ‘Unknown’. As both got along very well they started to continue on the second album ‘Awakening’. Andrew added guitars and had an impact on the sound that developed more into the experimental electronic direction. The third album ‘Wrath’ resulted in a tour in Europe, including festivals in London and Moscow in 2005. ‘Hydra’, a CD/ DVD combo was launched in 2008 and contained also remixes by MESH, ALPINESTARS, DATGUY, BENZ & MD. ‘Blacklight’ (2010) and after signing to Dependent Records ‘Radiant’ (2014) followed.

“And then, suddenly, the satellite came to life. Incoming transmission.”

A perfect description regarding the release of this album. IRIS has been quiet for a long time. There was a hint in summer 2018 but that could also mean announcements of new live shows as the guys left their fans in suspense. Finally in December 2018 we were thrilled to learn that the band is definitely working on a new album. While other musicians and bands tend to involve their fans more into the making-of process of the upcoming album IRIS fans just had to wait patiently. But deep in our hearts we all knew that we can only expect something great from US American finest Synth Pop band.

Already with the opening track the magic of IRIS is exposed. The beginning sounds almost like an UFO has landed before the melody starts and Reagan sets in with his singing to bring the band’s message to us in a danceable way. The next song addresses what we make of our lifetime in this world and our impact on what is happing here but joy is not a permanent state in life. But for the author this life is not a happy-go-lucky experience but more of a burden where the happy moments don’t last long. All wrapped in a great Synth Pop melody that transports the gloom very well and partly reminds me of some songs of DEPECHE MODE. With the third song guitar sound is added to set some accents. I’m very much reminded of Charlie Burchill’s (SIMPLE MINDS) guitar playing. Lyrically this song almost feels like the counterpart of the previous song. The next song relates to an ending (relationship/ phase in life) of a difficult and painful situation and the resolution made after this experience not to take everything but speak out right in time. Besides the synths also the guitar appears again. The band itself calls this song the MESH song as they created here a darker Synth Pop melody to stress the meaning of the lyrics.

Song five summons to talk about things one can relate to instead of talking a lot about nothing. The chorus has a nice airy feeling with a nice reference to 80’s and 90’s Synth Pop/ Electronic songs. Lovely and danceable, too. The next song is made for the dance floor for sure with the influences of house and disco elements but I can hear also some influences of songs from DEPECHE MODE, ERASRUE and the likes. The vocals on ‘Sundowner’ sound like they are coming from very far or from the radio with some interferences. Dark lyrics underlaid with a heavy, thick sound carpet that underlines the lyrics. While this song fades out the next song sets in with the tempo going up but despite the easiness of the melody and the rhythm that invites you to move the lyrics haven’t anything to do with happiness.

‘One kind’ is a clear statement that in the end we are all not so different and takes position against division and stresses that we are connected together and thus it is urgent that ‚we pull ourselves together’. All packed in a beautiful, unobtrusive melody with some guitar accents in it. The album finishes with the ballade like ‘Out of my mind’ with the guitar giving the icing of the cake. Partly the vocals of Reagan is split into polyphonic singing and in the chorus the last phrase is echoed. It might have been unintentionally but at some parts of the melody I am very much reminded of some songs of GENESIS’s album ‘And then there were three’ though I doubt that Progressive Rock of the late 70’s is on the list of Reagan and Andrew. However a well- made finisher of the album. Quite characteristically for this album too, is the spherically vocals of Reagan Jones with the reverbs. It sounds like it’s coming from the distance yet full of emotions and warmth underlaid with catchy danceable mid tempo melodies with some guitar accents every now and then.

The album is available as CD, 12” limited vinyl, as 36 pages hardcover art book with a seven track bonus disc


Tracklist

01. Third strike
02. Joy kill
03. Feeder
04. Silent
05. Speak out
06. Pure white snow
07. Sundowner
08. Take the pain
09. One kind
10. Final fate
11. Out of my mind


Line-up

Reagan Jones - Vocals
Andrew Sega - Keyboards, production


Website

https://www.facebook.com/iris.radiant/


Cover Picture

iris six


Rating

Music: 9
Sound: 10
Total: 9.5/ 10




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