While it feels like it has been a long time since the band’s last project, the nine-month wait fans have had to endure has been a busy one for the group. Last year the hip-hop collective dropped three high-quality albums in quick succession in a period rife with creative music videos, a sell-out tour, and even a short film. This prolific six months saw Brockhampton gain a lot of traction in a short space of time, and towards the start of this year they signed a deal with RCA Records.
While they began teasing a new album shortly after this, they soon became embroiled in controversy as multiple allegations about Ameer Vann, one of the band’s most prominent members and the ‘face’ of the Saturation trilogy, arose surrounding his treatment of women.
The band remained relatively quiet on the subject matter, but following a heart-breaking performance in which Ameer did not join them on stage – his parts of the songs left to play in silence – they released a statement saying that Ameer was no longer a part of Brockhampton. What followed was a brief period of uncertainty, but following a late-night performance and three ‘Ameer-less’ singles, the band dropped their latest project, the thermal camera stylised Iridescence, earlier this month.
Recorded at Abbey Road studios in London, Iridescence sees a more experimental Brockhampton angrily shout, scream and spit-bars over a more eclectic and occasionally orchestral sound. The album opens with the feisty ‘NEW ORLEANS’, an electronic rampage featuring all the members in slightly different roles to what those familiar to the group might be used to.
Throughout the album, prominent members of previous projects, Matt Champion and Kevin Abstract, take more of a back-seat role leaving the stand-out moments to the previously more supporting members, Merlyn Wood and JOBA. The track ‘WHERE THE CASH AT’ for example features a frantic Merlyn performance, and is one of the album’s more outlandish moments.
JOBA in particular seems to be the star of the show across Iridescence, taking on multiple different sounds – especially on ‘J’OUVERT’, the lead single for the album, he delivers a powerful performance that is perhaps the highlight of the whole project, whilst on the same track offering up a softer, catchy hook.
For all the wild energy the group bring on Iridescence, the softer moments are not lost in the fire. Multiple tracks feature the sultry smooth vocalist bearface, with the Irishman adding some beautiful balladry as well as some more high-tempo hooks. The lead refrain on the song ‘TONYA’, a sweet-sour take on the trappings of fame, is one of the prettiest moments on any of the collective’s songs to this date.
Overall, Iridescence is a satisfying follow-up that proves that Brockhampton are still on the rise following a tumultuous period. Most importantly they are willing to experiment with new sounds, and while that can occasionally fall flat, the willingness to adapt the group displays here proves that Brockhampton, at least for the time being, are here to stay…