By: Abyan Nery, Contributing Writer
Featured image courtesy of pitchfork.com
Brockhampton just released “iridescence,” their fourth studio album to follows the group’s much praised “Saturation” series. The self-proclaimed “boy band,” led by Kevin Abstract, seems as if they were poised to release their biggest and best album yet with all the hype that accompanies it. Unfortunately, reality doesn’t always meet expectation.
From the very first time I listened to the album, I got the feeling that there was something missing. The most obvious thing missing is former member Ameer Vann, who was removed from the group in May following sexual misconduct allegations by multiple women. Vann was one of the better rappers, who often sang the hooks and was the literal cover of all three of the “Saturation” albums. However, Vann wasn’t the only thing missing on this album and not even the most important exclusion.
That honor goes to the lack of consistency this project has to offer. This inconsistency extends into all parts of the album and it seems to be the general theme connecting all 15 tracks. Production-wise, the prevailing principle was to throw everything on the wall and see what stuck.
There are some tracks like “BERLIN” which with its hectic but flat beats make the song confusing and hinders any enjoyment of it. There are other tracks that are so bland that in one case, I literally forgot that the song was playing and only noticed when it went to the next track. These filler songs do nothing for the album and make the 48-minute runtime feel like an album that is at least an hour long.
Then, there are tracks such as “SAN MARCOS,” which feel so out of place on this album because they are sonically better than all the other songs. Something that definitely did not stick to the wall was the majority of the autotune use on the album, even on the good songs. While “SAN MARCOS” was a good song, it is impossible to not notice the atrocious autotune, which sounded like a Travis Scott feature recorded in a 7/11 bathroom. Even on their better songs, the production was, at best, eclectic and at worst, outright bad.
The bright spot of this album are the lyrics that serve as a reflections of how far Brockhampton has come and their newfound fame, but how it has not resulted in their problems being solved. They even comment on the frustration they feel surrounding the Vann situation with Abstract even asking, “Why the BBC only write about me when it comes down to controversy?” It is clear that the trappings of stardom has affected the members and they are not scared to let a general audience know, even if the song itself might suffer production-wise.
Overall, “iridescence” was disappointing and painfully mediocre, especially considering the fact that the group had established a solid track record up until this release. It might have a few interesting ideas lyrically or production-wise, but these ideas are not enough to bolster the weaker aspects of the album. I don’t think this album will have much longevity, as it is at its worst. I give this album a 6 out of 10.