Review Summary: Is you dancin all alone? Is you dancin for someone?iridescence
is the best Brockhampton album because it doesn't give a fuck what you think a Brockhampton album should sound like. If you're rolling your eyes at that statement then you're doing this shit right, and you've got one up on me; it took me until Merlyn's "PULL UP TO YA HOUSE AND DUMP LIKE THE TRASH MAN" to acquaint myself with the level of ridiculousness this album operates on, but once I did the thermals dissolved into normal colour and iridescence
became really simple. That's all this is actually, Brockhampton's simplest album, a choose-your-own-adventure funhouse where the experience is as hilarious or as touching as the mindset you go in with.
Take for example "NEW ORLEANS", which is far from their best opener – maybe I've been spoiled by the likes of "1999 WILDFIRE", but christ it could have used a beat change - but taken with companion piece "THUG LIFE", the two are easily the best opening statement Brockhampton have had. The former's wylin-out-in-hotel-room banger shit transitions to the latter's heart-eyes-emoji-ballad so smoothly they become much better than the sum of either part, and it's a glorious fact that bearface goin "sha-na-na-nuh-nuh-ahhh
" over Kevin declaring that this is, indeed, a thug life where one must get paid can make you feel things if you just fucking let it
. This trick is used and reused throughout iridescence
and it steadfastly refuses to get old or not work, whether it's "BERLIN"'s Yeezus
bass thwumps thwumping into "SOMETHING ABOUT HIM"'s hazy Blond(e)
vibe or the In Rainbows
-on-crack drum coda of "TAPE" clearing the slate for "J'OUVERT" to surgically deconstruct the mould of a Brockhampton single. But forget songs, it's in the little things that show how far the boys have come as composers
: when the only direct link to last year's trilogy is offsetting an unrecognisable "BUMP" sample with a wailing guitar outro straight from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
, or when "DISTRICT"'s last refrain doubles speed as Kevin rushes to catch up with the beat collapsing in on itself. If the album slips up at any point it's in closing with three longer mid-tempo crooners, with the very obviously Ameer-wounded emotions of "TONYA" sounding especially out of place after the previous song's stadium singalong replete with credits-roll strings. Maybe the point is that the mixed emotions cancel each other out before the album whimpers to a close with "FABRIC", a low-key throbber with a glorious chorus that promises a future dedication to truths rather than making any grand statements itself.
No-one's claiming wholesale redefinition of the brand in the nine months Brockhampton have been away. Dom McLennon still raps fast and honest about mental health, Kevin Abstract saves his shit-talking for the big hooks and his self-reflection for the verses on sad songs, and Matt Champion seems to have plateaued on his exponential upwards climb in quality across the SATURATION
trilogy. Still, it's more than made up for with Merlyn's fascinating evolution into a poetic clown on "TONYA", or Romil's beats getting more jagged and introverted and snarled up along the songs' lifelines, or Joba firmly cementing his status as the best and most diverse member ducking between hilarious (Praise god! Hallelujah! I'm still depressed!) and apoplectic Danny Brown-style psychopath on "J'OUVERT". Brockhampton are evolving: they're not hand-holding the audience to the happy and sad parts of their albums anymore, they're not wasting space with skits, and they're less content to ride the beat out than they are to cut it up with a razor and some rusty scissors. Before I said that iridescence
limps to a close, and that's not wrong but it might be a little harsh. The Brockhampton of last year ended their albums with vaguely pretty, meaningless noise; this Brockhampton go out red-eyed in the corner of the party, scribbling in notebooks wondering why "I don't speak like I used to".
also, bearface raps and that shit's amazing