America’s greatest boy band

Brockhampton releases fourth studio album ‘Iridescence’

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America’s greatest boy band

Fair Use from RCA Records.

Fair Use from RCA Records.

Fair Use from RCA Records.

Fair Use from RCA Records.

David Bryant

After the absolutely insane feat of recording and producing three albums in the span of one year under the Saturation Trilogy, American rap group and self-proclaimed boy band show no signs of slowing down upon the release of “Iridescence.”

Brockhampton is a collective group of 13 artists, spanning a majority of rappers but also consisting of multiple producers, a manager, a clothing designer and more. The group defined their sound through the Saturation Trilogy between the pace of releases, the full quirky and funky beats and all vocalists bringing their own personality and flow to the music.

“Iridescence” progresses the quirky sound of the group but lays more in an experimental list of bipolar tracks. The listing alternates from buzzy 808 bangers to beautifully composed orchestral ballads while still veering on the poppy side. Brockhampton still throws in unexpected beat-switches to keep it more interesting than it already is.

The album opens with “New Orleans,” a beat filled with a humming melody, a smashing distorted kick drum covered in old time phone call rings and various other little noises. Technical and fast rapper of the group Dom McLennon leads the track, chanting about his struggles and passion to succeed as a discriminated black man. Each member continues to bring powerful bars sharing their individual struggles and stories in addition to an unexpected feature from Jaden Smith.

“Iridescence” demonstrates its incredibly smooth transitions from “New Orleans” on to the next track “Thug Life.” “Thug Life,” despite the name, is a lovely piano ballad showing highlights from singer Bearface swaying over the beat with his melodic riffs. Bearface playing as the singer of the group demonstrates an evolution on “Iridescence” by rapping in multiple tracks.

All artists make waves demonstrating their talent, but wild card of the group Joba causes a tsunami. Joba brings the aggression to songs such as “J’ouvert,” making up for the loss of ex-member Ameer Vann while also offering multiple verses sounding like different people. Joba also shows his diversity as an artist as he leads the closing track “Fabric” with his melodic singing and switches of tones and cadence

Through the entire track listing of 15 songs, not a single song put me off the wrong way. I can find something to love about every song on this album but I still have my personal highlights.

“District” caught my attention with its double beat change starting with an orchestral opening turning to a crazy fuzzy rhythm ending in a wiggly and reverberated guitar closing. The track offered amazing verses from Joba once again but also fellow rappers Dom McLennon and Matt Champion delivering slow thuggish bars.

“San Marcos” claims the title of the weirdest opening on the entire album with a whispered pitch shifted start from Matt Champion ending perfectly with a churchy build-up feel from lead member Kevin Abstract leading a choir with the words “I want more out of life than this, I want more.”

Lastly, the incredibly important and heartfelt track “Tonya,” referring to the award-winning film ‘I, Tonya,’ is another beautiful ballad mixed with a funky reversed beat sharing themes to the movie of handling stardom and it quickly crashing, referencing Ameer Vann’s sexual allegations leading to him being kicked out the group. “Tonya” was initially released on The Tonight Show two months prior to the release of “Iridescence,” and although not as powerful as the original live version still lays a special place in followers of Brockhampton.

“Iridescence” demonstrates the growth Brockhampton has made as they continue to innovate their sound, bringing liveliness to the modern hip-hop genre.

“Iridescence”: ★★★★★

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