Review: Iris – Blacklight

Members: Andrew Sega, Brian Pearson, Reagan Jones

Bio: Iris is an American synthpop band, formed by Reagan Jones and Mat Morris in 1993. After releasing their first album Disconnect, Matthew Morris was replaced with Andrew Sega who pushed the band’s sound into a more experimental electronic direction.. – Wiki

Release Date: 09/03/10

Label: Diffusion Records

Review: Iris returns with their 4th studio album, Blacklight, two years after the release of the acclaimed Hydra EP. On Hydra, fans were treated to some new songs that had more of the rock driven direction that Iris explored on Wrath. Many hoped that the following full-length album would feature the tracks Nobody Wins or New Invaders along with more of the instrumentation that Iris experimented with on Wrath.

While there is more use of instrumentation and musical evolution of the band’s sound, Blacklight feels emotionally more like their 2nd album Awakening than Wrath. More mellow and introspective, and not as angry. There are some good club tracks like Closer to Real, or Panic Rev, but the rest of the album lacks any club play power.

Lyrically the band has evolved from prior releases with the songs being more philosophical and emotionally centered. The undercurrents of unresolved heartbreak are gone for the most part. This is a trend I’ve noticed with most Synthpop acts after a few albums though. At some point hurt and loss evolve into thoughtfulness and hopeful sentiments. This is not a bad thing at all, in fact its a motivating factor as it allows the fans to witness the emotional growth and evolution of the songwriter, and maybe get some closure on feelings of their own.

While I’m disappointed that Blacklight failed to live up to the energy and power that Hydra teased at, it is a worthwhile listen. Calm but still emotionally lost and finding answers to those questions that we all have in life’s grand scheme.

Buy it here: A Different Drum