BROCKHAMPTON did it again.
It has been an interesting year for the boy band. After releasing the third and final part of the SATURATION trilogy, BROCKHAMPTON took off on tour and, consequently, promised another album. The boy band is an absolute powerhouse; the group has released four albums in the span of eighteen months with each album showcasing the sheer amount of creativity and talent that they possess.
As if their meteoric rise to the hip-hop scene was not enough, BROCKHAMPTON also had a tumultuous few months with the parting of the face of the SATURATION trilogy, Ameer Vann, for allegations sexual and emotional abuse. BROCKHAMPTON had originally announced their fourth album to be titled PUPPY, but after Vann’s departure, they announced a delay of the album’s release. Nonetheless, the group was still grinding: they released three singles on streaming services — none of which appeared on iridescence — and performed one, “TONYA,” on Jimmy Kimmel. Despite letting go of Vann, the boy band still produced a record that captured the BROCKHAMPTON aesthetic sound while still pushing their personal boundaries by being experimental with structure and sound.
iridescence has all of the elements of the traditional BROCKHAMPTON sound that has cemented in the minds of their fans. “NEW ORLEANS,” the first song of the album, “BERLIN” and “DISTRICT” have strong basslines with distorted melodies that only BROCKHAMPTON could produce. The EDM-like influences in songs such as “VIVID” and “HONEY” are apparent and reminiscent of their earlier work, such as SATURATION III’s “BOOGIE”). “SAN MARCOS” and “THUG LIFE” remind listeners of the vocal powers of the band’s secret weapon, bearface. These sounds are familiar but still unique, and distinct; BROCKHAMPTON constantly creates this effect.
iridescence has some bold songs that exhibit the boy band’s versatility. Songs such as “J’OUVERT,” “FABRIC” and “TAPE” are unconventional, even for BROCKHAMPTON. These songs are not generally associated with boy bands nor with the genre of hip-hop, but they have strong influences from both sides with BROCKHAMPTON showing that a marriage of two can be successful.
A standout track from the album is “SOMETHING ABOUT HIM.” Kevin Abstract has consistently rapped about his struggles with coming to terms with his sexuality which he does on “WEIGHT,” but on “SOMETHING ABOUT HIM” he sounds more confident. Here, Abstract flexes his songwriting skills with lyrics fantasizing about him, not her. The straightforward messaging, without knowing it or not, combats homophobia in hip-hop in its own casual, confident way. Abstract switches between two voices singing and rapping while creating a pleasant, wonderful sound.
iridescence is a good album but not BROCKHAMPTON’s best production. The SATURATION trilogy set a high bar for what their best work can be like, but that does not take away from this album’s quality; iridescence is a great album. Now that this album is out, the question arises: When is the next album coming out? Is PUPPY still in the works? This is the effect BROCKHAMPTON has created: once they release their work, fans itch for more of their brilliance.