Iress
Flaw


4.5
superb

Review

by Jesper L. CONTRIBUTOR (41 Reviews)
September 26th, 2020 | 62 replies


Release Date: 09/18/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Death is all we have

True to its cover art, Flaw is the kind of record that bears the intensity of a dark, cold ocean. The sludgy riff introducing album opener ‘Shamed’ instantly signals this change of pace for Iress; the bouncy, hazy indie rock from their 2015 debut Prey has made way for something heavier, something much more sinister. Self-describing their brand of music as ‘doom-gaze’, the Californian band presents a sound not dissimilar to the likes of Chelsea Wolfe and Emma Ruth Rundle, yet succeeds in separating itself from the pack due to an enthralling combination of impeccable musicianship, Michelle Malley’s demanding voice, and, while allowing Flaw enough space to breathe, preventing the record from overstaying its welcome.

While the peppy choruses from the band’s previous output may be gone, Iress has not sacrificed a drop of memorability here. Early highlight ‘Nest’ confidently works its way to a huge, soaring chorus, with Malley lamenting “Come undone with me / Death is all we have” brilliantly capturing the gloomy atmosphere of Flaw. Yet, as bleak of an affair as it may be, it’s a highly catchy moment, with many similarly captivating lyrical moments showing up throughout the record. Similarly, every single note is as heartfelt as it is carefully constructing and adding depth to Iress’ world of dreary beauty. Whether it’s the cymbal-heavy drumming in the aforementioned ‘Shamed’ or the quiet, delicate acoustic guitars that form the framework of ‘Dark Love’, not a second feels out of place. Accentuated by Sarah Tudzin’s immaculate production job, Malley’s voice drifts especially pleasantly in this particular song, gently guiding the song into its blissful dusk.

As incredible of a track as ‘Dark Love’ is, it can primarily be seen as functioning as the perfect prelude to ‘Shallow’ in the context of the full album. Clocking in at seven minutes, the album’s centerpiece is absolutely massive. Commanded by simplistic, hypnotising drums and reverb-drenched guitars, the song masterfully builds tension before erupting into a cathartic explosion of sound, only to deconstruct itself and do it all over again for a colossal finale. The final two minutes see guitars crashing like waves against a distorted bassline, and, most prominently, Malley manages to strain her vocal chords into a stunning, goosebump-inducing shriek. It’s a finale filled with such raw emotion that truly shows off Flaw’s unique ability to amaze with grandiosity, while remaining firmly rooted in sheer, unfiltered humanity.

Even if there is no need for Iress to continue proving themselves after the monumental ‘Shallow’, the band throws in another handful of crushing, distorted numbers for good measure. ‘Hand Tremor’, the closing track, however, is an entirely different beast. Rather, it’s a quiet, restrained track, signaling Flaw has said all it wanted and needed to say, allowing space for Malley’s gentle whispers and muted acoustic guitars to have the final word. Still, in spite of the album closing on such a delicately high note, fully self aware of when it’s time to dismantle itself, it leaves you wishing for more. It’s a record grounded in darkness, yet mystifyingly captivating due to this very gloom. Flaw is fully worth diving into, even though its shallowness may be highly, wonderfully deceptive.



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user ratings (39)
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
September 26th 2020


1615 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

album's a beauty, shallow for soty?

listen plz: https://weareiress.bandcamp.com/album/flaw

Digging: Seaway - Big Vibe

Pangea
September 26th 2020


4956 Comments


great review jesper! this looks good

Digging: Paysage d'Hiver - Steineiche

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
September 26th 2020


21966 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This looks soooo much like my thing! Good stuff man!

Digging: Love Club - Lime Twigs and Treachery

BenThatsMyJamin
September 26th 2020


3437 Comments


Great review Jasper, this sounds awesome. What's the cover art of?

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
September 26th 2020


1615 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

thanks guys! definitely think this is up your alley yeah dewi!

ben, the cover art is a dead tree in front of a rough ocean, i think

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
September 26th 2020


12945 Comments


New contributor blood putting a stamp on it

hel9000
Contributing Reviewer
September 26th 2020


759 Comments


Great review dude, I will check this out

Digging: Junglepussy - JP4

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
September 26th 2020


1615 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

haha hell yeah, ty! and congrats on your promotion as well hel :]

Scoot
September 27th 2020


20199 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this looks great

Digging: Chamber - Cost of Sacrifice

alamo
September 27th 2020


3339 Comments


pretty cover

heyadam
September 27th 2020


3555 Comments


anohanamo

figure337
September 27th 2020


612 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah this is pretty great but damn does it sound like ground already tread from the above mentioned artists. Singer may even be better than Wolfe but I feel i've heard these songs before. I'll listen to it some more and see what the score ends up.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
September 27th 2020


8888 Comments


Great album (3.5+), glad to see this reviewed and featured.

Great vocals and I agree about the Chelsea Wolfe influence.

Digging: Striges - Verum Veterum

cowbeef
September 27th 2020


6 Comments


Glad I stumbled across this review. First track slaps hard.

Weyes Blood meets Deftones? Weyes Bloodier?

zaruyache
September 27th 2020


22987 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

i am ready

Digging: Ethereal Shroud - Lanterns

Storm In A Teacup
September 27th 2020


30766 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

oh fuck this is my kind of music

Digging: Envy - The Fallen Crimson

Slex
September 27th 2020


10408 Comments


If I think Chelsea Wolfe is just the worst would I possibly still like this?

Digging: Gulfer - Gulfer

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
September 27th 2020


1615 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

doubtful slex but there's always a chance, give shallow a spin and if that doesn't do it for you don't bother with the rest

dmathias52
Contributing Reviewer
September 27th 2020


1462 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The way you described Shallow made me want to to give this another listen to see if there was anything that I missed - I'd say that means it's a successful review! My first few listens of this were good, but nothing really rose above the pack. The vocals were obviously great, the instrumentation was good, but nothing special. Gonna have to listen again to see if I missed anything.

Digging: Keaton Henson - Monument

EoinCofa
September 27th 2020


475 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review Jesper.



Goth AOTY

Digging: Crippled Black Phoenix - Ellengaest



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