It’s taken a long time to get here: the first BROCKHAMPTON album since the end of their Saturation trilogy. These boys have been through a lot this year, with unsavory revelations about ex-member Ameer Vann and the band’s subsequent reassessment colliding with the signing of a $15 million 6-album deal with RCA Records to create a frantic and uneasy summer, which they chronicled in their new documentary The Longest Summer In America. After all that happened, they decided to scrap all their prior work on the album, starting from scratch at Abbey Road Studios last month and pumping out iridescence in a month. The result reflects all the intensity of the period that incubated the album as yet another hallmark of BROCKHAMPTON’s unbridled creativity.
Iridescence also allows allows its other members to play greater parts in the wake of Vann’s absence, who was literally the cover star of the group’s three SATURATION albums. Bearface in particular takes on a more prominent role, adding an inimitable quality throughout. All the other members have a strong impact as well, like Joba’s closing verse on “BERLIN” or Dom McLennon’s thoughtful soliloquy on “THUG LIFE” and wild crooning on “HONEY.” Kevin Abstract seems to be making a concerted effort to blend in more tightly with the rest of the band, and it’s worked out tremendously as everyone else gets more time to shine. The album veers from the lamentful reminiscing of “WEIGHT” to the bombast of “J’OUVERT,” one of the group’s most incessant, carnivalistic songs yet, with ease.
At the end of iridescence, they include the official studio version of “TONYA,” the reckoning song BROCKHAMPTON wrote for their Tonight Show appearance after emerging from a hibernation following May’s firestorm around the band. Featuring serpentwithfeet, Jazmine Sullivan, and Ryan Beatty (who contributed the standout hook from “BLEACH”), “TONYA” ascends and hints at how bright BROCKHAMPTON’s future could be. That’s followed by “FABRIC,” which closes with synths that almost channel the searing sound of James Blake’s Overgrown giving way to a blown-out outro ending things as energetically as they began.
iridescence is meant to be the first installation in BROCKHAMPTON’s The Best Years Of Our Lives trilogy, but after all the starts and stops with this album process (Team Effort became Puppy became The Best Years Of Our Lives became a trilogy with iridescence as its first installment), we’ll believe that when we see it. For now, enjoy BROCKHAMPTON’s iridescence below.