Iosonouncane
IRA


5.0
classic

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
May 19th, 2021 | 433 replies


Release Date: 05/14/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Your 2021 album of the year has arrived.

I've always felt like music transcends language. It's codified emotion, and even though Iosonouncane's IRA is mostly sung in a gibberish concoction of European and African languages, I feel things while listening to this album that I've never before experienced: beauty so mystifying that I need to pause the music in order to catch my breath...genuine terror, to the point that I can feel my body having a physiological, heart-racing response. I've listened to hundreds of albums in the last year alone in which I've comprehended every single word, yet none of them have induced such a sincerely organic and utterly visceral response. That's the beauty of music – it can stir something inside of you that you didn't even know was there.

IRA conjures a whirlwind of dark, twisted imagery without ever sounding ugly. It's one of the most ominous yet jaw-droppingly gorgeous artistic expressions I've heard in my entire life. The pervading atmosphere might be described as electronic or ambient, but it's a festering, evil smolder – not something you sink into so much as something you wake up to at 2 a.m., unable to blink while the shadows on your ceiling take shape and begin to move. It's almost like a Radiohead album influenced by Swans, a combination of daring electronic experimentation and creepy, droning soundscapes – except it's also a pop album. As IRA navigates its nearly two hour runtime, you'll find yourself in sheer awe over the immaculate blend of sounds on display – from its eerie, dimly lit valleys to its stunning, effervescent peaks.

Through one hundred and nine minutes of intricate beauty and raw, paralyzing fear, IRA is one long holy shit moment. 'ashes' bombards us with its droning, repetitively echoing percussion before ascending into something of a discordant orchestra. All of that merely sets the stage for fiery, authoritative riffs layered over strange clattering and Jacopo Incani's unsettling vocal melodies. 'jabal' has the feeling of a tribal ritual, brimming with foreboding drums and manic shouts which give way to ghastly synths and apparition-like hums. The second half of 'prison' is like witnessing a plane crash to a serenade of strange buzzing noises, disconcerting screams, and thunderous percussion – all of which culminates in a spine-tingling breakdown. 'piel' possesses the closest thing on IRA to a danceable beat, but it still manages to maintain the album's weirdness by transitioning from a relatively straightforward set of opening verses to sweeping synth waves that ebb and flow rhythmically...almost like some kind of haunting dance. '​prière' is subdued and menacing until suddenly it isn't, a pause and brief snare-fill separating its mellow incantations from middle-eastern influenced guitar licks and endless depths of synth demonry. The epic penultimate track 'hajar' sees Iosonouncane winding and gradually climbing – unhinged chants blending with infectious melody – until it finally ratchets up the intensity and manifests in six minutes of droning synths. Again, these are merely snippets taken from a vast, sprawling world – it's best to dive into the full experience and let it simply wash over you.

The rabbit hole here is bottomless: IRA is beautiful, terrifying, and relentlessly intriguing. If it has a drawback, it's almost certainly the intimidating length – of course, that should not deter anyone who is serious about exploring the imaginative and expansive realm that Iosonouncane has crafted. IRA is one of those records that obliterates everything in its path...not through sheer instrumental force or imposition of will, but by way of the artist's incredibly diverse skill set, unhindered imagination, and a ravenous exploration of different styles of music. It's one of those rare albums where full comprehension of the lyrics is not entirely necessary to appreciate the art – in fact, it sounds so impressive to me in this instinctual, human form that I'm not sure I even want to understand it word for word. IRA is haunting, breathtaking, and evocative – a towering benchmark for Iosonouncane that may have already swept the rest of 2021 under its enormous shadow.



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user ratings (90)
4
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
Toondude10
May 19th 2021


14505 Comments


damn, better than Manchester Orchestra?

SowingSeason
Moderator
May 19th 2021


38102 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yes, quite a bit better.

Digging: Bruno Pernadas - Private Reasons

Slex
May 19th 2021


11499 Comments


Eeeee it's been a slow couple weeks and I was really looking for something to sink my teeth into, I'm sold

Also maybe it gets lost by the wayside because of yr consistency and output but yr still a ridiculously good writer, pos

Digging: The Raging Nathans - Waste My Heart

SowingSeason
Moderator
May 19th 2021


38102 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Slex, that means a lot. Seriously. Always admired your writing.

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
May 19th 2021


24533 Comments


No please Sowing, don't hype me, I had already decided to ignore this one ;(

Digging: Kultivator - Barndomens Stigar

SowingSeason
Moderator
May 19th 2021


38102 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Dewi you should listen to this because unlike most of my 5's, this is actually good.

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
May 19th 2021


24533 Comments


Fvck.

Ok, I'll listen to it.

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
May 19th 2021


37790 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Y A Y Italian album I will listen to this



also really neat review plus this looks like I'll maybe like it a lot plus yay 2021 album from the month of May that is exciting!!!

Digging: ZOC - PvP

Sinternet
May 19th 2021


24172 Comments


up the ra

Digging: Marina - Ancient Dreams In A Modern Land

Squiggly
May 19th 2021


275 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So you could say this is "an actual 5, not a hype 5"? Big if true

Digging: Sweet Trip - A Tiny House, In Secret Speeches, Polar Equals

Slex
May 19th 2021


11499 Comments


Great dig

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
May 19th 2021


37790 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i know it's all been done before

LeddSledd
May 19th 2021


5359 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

congrats english protestant you won a free car



go outside and turn it on now

Digging: Iosonouncane - IRA

Squiggly
May 19th 2021


275 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thx I can’t stop listening to CTTS

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
May 19th 2021


3095 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

couple of tracks in and it's sounding rly good, but i'm curious to see if it'll keep my attention for the full 109 minutes

weird (?) comparison: kind of reminds me of typhoon's offerings

Digging: The Buildings - Heaven is a Long Exhale

anat
May 19th 2021


4230 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this caught my eye a couple of days ago and this review has cemented a wishlist place but jaysus it's like 1h50???

Digging: Lifafa - SUPERPOWER 2020 ???????? ????

LunaticSoul
May 19th 2021


1717 Comments


Knew this would have eventually landed on sput

yeah all the Italian people I know that care slightly about music as an artform are listening to this

LunaticSoul
May 19th 2021


1717 Comments


comparison: kind of reminds me of typhoon's offerings

just because of the cover orrrr. . . .

Nocte
Staff Reviewer
May 19th 2021


14307 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That cover’s pretty metal

Digging: Diskord - Degenerations

SowingSeason
Moderator
May 19th 2021


38102 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"couple of tracks in and it's sounding rly good, but i'm curious to see if it'll keep my attention for the full 109 minutes"

Yeah the length is the main thing I see being a problem for some, but it's only a little longer than The Seer ;-) I split it up into halves for digestibility and listen to it throughout the day. Apparently this is a 3x LP that took some 5 years to make, so I figured damn I better at least listen.



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