BROCKHAMPTON comes out on top with studio debut “iridescence”
2018 was full of highs and lows for America’s favorite boyband Brockhampton. After announcing they had signed a deal worth $15 million with RCA Records in March, the group came under fire less than two months later when allegations of abuse and sexual misconduct against founding member Ameer Vann surfaced.
The allegations left fans, and the band itself, reeling. Following an emotional performance at Boston Calling in May where Vann was noticeably absent, Brockhampton announced that he was no longer a part of the group. The band subsequently cancelled several dates on their summer tour, including a performance at Governor’s Ball Music Festival, to “go home and regroup.”
On September 21, Brockhampton released “iridescence,” their major label debut and first project without Vann. On “iridescence” Brockhampton is as interesting as ever, delivering tight flows over UK grime-influenced production. But like the band’s story so far, this album also has its fair share of highs and lows.
In just under 50 minutes, Brockhampton manages to take listeners on a journey through what’s arguably the brightest, and darkest, time of their careers to date. From beats to bars, each song on “iridescence” feels like an explosion of emotion—whether that emotion is anger (Joba on “J’ouvert”), frustration (Kevin on “Tape”), sadness (“Weight”), confidence (“Berlin,” “Vivid”), or a mixture of all of the above that lends itself to understanding (“Fabric”).
Joba and Merlyn are standouts on “iridescence,” delivering some of their most memorable performances on “District” and “New Orleans,” while Dom remains as solid as ever. However, front man Kevin Abstract seems to take a backseat to the other members of Brockhampton on this album. While Kevin’s verses are some of the album’s best and most emotionally raw, it feels like he’s gone into hiding, and Dom—who seems to be the glue that’s holding everything together—has taken over his role as the center of the group.
“iridescence” is a great album, but it isn’t perfect. While I applaud Brockhampton for experimenting with their sound, the heavy electronic production over the course of the album’s 15 tracks begins to wear thin after a while and, in some cases, overtakes the boys’ vocal performances. But despite its small missteps, “iridescence” shows listeners who Brockhampton truly are—an innovative, resilient crew ready to take their next steps.