RCA / Sony
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Only months after the removal of founding member Ameer Vann, America’s favorite boy band BROCKHAMPTON returns to the studio for their fifth release, iridescence, their first after signing with industry titans RCA Records. Despite the immense anticipation of this record and its significant stylistic shift, iridescence fails to live up to its expectations.
The main issue with the album is that it takes the eccentricities of the BROCKHAMPTON’s pioneering style and waters it down to make for a predictable and dichotomous record. There are essentially two kinds of songs found on iridescence; explosive bangers like “BERLIN” and “NEW ORLEANS,” and gratuitous slow jams like “SAN MARCOS” and “WEIGHT.” These excessive “sad boy” songs particularly weaken the record, providing little else than a few generic beats and mundane instrumentations.
That’s not to say that the tastiness and production seen in earlier BROCKHAMPTON work isn’t present on this album. On the contrary, iridescence is easily a production marvel. Songs like “FABRIC” really succeed in this regard, expertly layering a wide variety of instrumental sections and verses. The subject matter on this tune is notable as well, acknowledging the group’s sudden rise to popularity with lines like, “What about three CDs in one year with no label?” “BERLIN” similarly features mature layering and mixing, creating a gritty and abrasive tone. This song, and almost every track as a stand-alone song, can be admired as legitimately emotionally moving despite that many other tracks sound quite similar. This aspect will surely earn the record plenty of replays by fans in the coming months but, at the end of the day, is not enough to rescue it.
Still, iridescence is a solid listen and a necessity for any committed BROCKHAMPTON follower but abandons the originality and boldness of earlier work from the group.