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Title: Blacklight
Artist: Iris
Genre: Synth Pop
Release Date: 3rd September 2010
Label: Infacted Recordings

Album Review

I love Pop music, and I love electronic Pop music in particular. But for quite a while now most so-called Synth Pop releases have rather bored me to tears, to be honest. Too many Synth Pop bands are either copycats of the progenitors of their genre, they lack diversity or just good vocals, or their songs are simply not strong enough. And most are pretty bland when they perform live.

The US-American duo IRIS has always been among the better ones from this genre. Their debut single from 1998, ‘Annie, Would I Lie To You?’, is still one of the most captivating songs from the Synth Pop underground, and their three studio albums so far were always rock solid in terms of quality.

With their fourth album ‘Blacklight’, released in early September on Infacted Recordings, Reagan Jones and Andrew Sega aka IRIS even surpass their excellent previous works. IRIS leave the rockier feel of their last studio album - the already five-year old ‘Wrath’ - behind, and Jones and Sega manage to go the extra mile in every aspect of their music. What was really good has become mind-blowing now! The album features only nine songs but the duo managed to bring out the best in every song. There are no fillers here, just nine songs which were composed and created with a lot of care to achieve the optimum. But there are highlights on ‘Blacklight’, and the opener and lead single ‘Closer To Real’ is the prime example here. The song shows all the qualities of IRIS, from the melancholic yet uplifting atmosphere to the diligent instrumentation to Reagan Jones’ brilliant vocals. Arguably one of the best songs of IRIS’ entire career! The second song, ‘X Wires’, is nothing short of the opener but has, also regarding the lyrics, a much darker feel to it.

The album runs a bit the risk that the rest might be somewhat paled by the two very strong opening songs. And song number three, ‘Panic Rev’, indeed feels a bit lightweight in the context of the album. It’s the fast-paced dance track of the album, and as such it serves its function even though it does not reach the same heights as the first two songs. Still a good track, though! Six tracks left to go, and while there are no further instant classics like ‘Closer To Real’ or ‘X Wires’ there’s a lot to discover. The 7:20 minute long ‘Disintegrate’ evolves from a classic Pop tune to a lugubrious, orchestral piece of music. A song in two parts which are - musically and lyrically - like different faces of the same mirror. Uplifting dance beats are brought back with ‘Fighter’ and ‘Red Right Return’, and the latter in particular lives on the anthemic quality of its chorus. Lyrically, the album shapes up from the rather melancholic, at times almost despaired first few songs, to a much more hopeful and almost spiritual perspective towards the end of the album. “My time will come when everything’s been perfected”, sings Jones in ‘Prophetic’. There’s still some
atrabiliousness and despair in the words, but also the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel! But melancholia, desperation and a sense of loss are back with the album closer ‘Cruel Silence’ - musically a touching mid-tempo track with a simply epic chorus. As soon as the last sounds fade out and discard you in a, well, cruel silence, you touch the repeat button without hesitation...

‘Blacklight’ is arguably IRIS’ best work to date. If you love well-arranged Pop music with stunning vocals and a clever electronic orchestration you simply have to get this fine album. If you don’t I wonder why you are still reading this... ;-)


1. Closer To Real
2. X Wires
3. Panic Rev
4. The Marianas Depths
5. Disintegrate
6. Fighter
7. Red Right Return
8. Prophetic
9. Cruel Silence


Reagan Jones
- Track ideas, Vox
Andrew Sega - Programming, Guitars, Synthetics

Website /

Cover Picture


Music: 9.5
Sound: 10
Extras: -
Total: 9.8 / 10

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