Brockhampton Delivers Once Again
By Alex Orlowski
On Sept. 21, Brockhampton released its fifth studio album, “Iridescence,” the first album in the upcoming “The Best Years of Our Lives” trilogy. The album has been in the works for some time now, and was initially planned to be released in mid-2018 under the name “Puppy.” Last year, the group released the “Saturation” trilogy to much critical acclaim, garnering a large fan base in the process. Fans appreciated the varying contributions made by each of the seven group members, along with the quality music production. “Iridescence” delivers in both aspects, providing listeners a more industrial take on the sound that brought them success in the first place.
Brockhampton manages to balance testing out new techniques while retaining its signature sound developed in its previous work. The album is both grittier and more orchestral than the group’s previous albums. Although calling the project “experimental” might be overstating it, the group is certainly reaching out of its comfort zone. To the surprise of many fans, founding member Ameer Vann departed from the group following allegations of sexual misconduct. Vann contributed a lot to the group’s sound, and some listeners expected his absence would leave a void. However, the other members stepped up to the challenge, especially Joba, who is featured more heavily on this album than in any of Brockhampton’s previous discography. Joba thrives on the more hard-hitting beats, which allow him to be loud and rambunctious, all while being able to carry himself on the slower paced tracks, showcasing his versatility.
The opening track on “Iridescence,” “New Orleans,” sets the tone for the rest of the album. The track sounds very grand, with loud, siren-like noises repeating throughout the beat. Everyone brings their A-game to the track “J’ouvert,” which has a similar energy to “New Orleans.” Given that this is a much harder and grimier beat, Joba is the star of the song. Throughout the song, Joba continually ramps up the intensity, screaming while being careful not to detract from the song’s melody
The highlight of the album is “Weight.” It immediately contrasts with Merlyn Wood’s high intensity sound on the previous track, “Where The Cash At.” “Weight” opens with a verse from Kevin Abstract with a beautiful violin in the background. The song deals with the struggles the group members deal with, hence the name “Weight,” as each member has some weight on his shoulders that he is carrying around. The members rap about themes of inadequacy, the unpleasant realities of fame, and the broken relationships of the past.
“Iridescence”is a well-executed album that strays from the upbeat pop-rap style of the “Saturation” trilogy.It is a good listen for newcomers and long-time fans alike, and only further amplifies the hype for what the group has in store in this newest trilogy.