IAMX (Chris Corner's project post Sneaker Pimps) are releasing their 3rd full length album on May 19th. The album was unfortunately leaked by someone in media who received the album ahead of time for promotion. Since IAMX is an independent label they will feel this shady act in their pocket book. They sent a plea to their Myspace audience to still purchase the album legally and support art. I have to agree, it is our album and concert purchases that allow artists to continually make and share their talent and vision. I have avoided obtaining the album via torrent (which was 3/4 of the sites pulled up when googling reviews of this album). I have listened to it via youtube (I know I peeked at my present before Christmas, it was just a little peek, and I am still very pumped to open the gift on the release date). That being said, I would like to share some thoughts on this album because I am psyched, and couldn't wait to share my always biased opinion until after the album is released.
My first inklings that this was going to be their strongest and most epic album to date was based on the release of When I Think of England, some dodgy bootleg footage from concerts and back drop music to a pre-tour promotional clip. What I heard from these few instances revealed small tasty nibbles of an IAMX in their element - artistic genius that hinted at being one of my favorite albums of 2009.
Kingdom of the Welcome Addiction
Nature of Inviting is a moody song with an almost sub aqueous underwater-like baseline. Corner's voice slinks out in sleazy verse. Lyrically the song sets a standard for an album charged with strong views and opinions. A great song to kick off the album.
Kingdom of the Welcome Addiction is an absolute masterpiece. A powerful lone piano leads into an emotional and elephantine intro. The fusion of piano, electronics, drums and distorted guitars seeps with brilliance. The strength of the verse is complimented by a subdued segment of chorus ending in emotion and grandness. I love this song and feel it is a gem.
Tear Garden is all about drums and piano. The cheerful drum beats echo from the jungle and are perfectly accompanied by a tantalizing series of rhythmic piano chords. Corner's voice is the third instrument outshining the drum and piano. There are hints of violins and cellos giving a slightly sadder sound in contrast to the drums and piano. Lyrically melancholy and complex, this song is another manifest of their variability and ability to produce an album full of gems.
My Secret Friend is a brilliant blend of Corner and the vastly talented Imogen Heap harmonizing a simple but haunting melody and lyric. Musically the song is very simple as if avoiding to detract from the beautiful vocals. I think Corner and Imogen play off each other's range and voices perfectly, and this song fuses their styles with grace. Spot on!
An I for an I is a very edgy and in your face song. It rocks harder and the lyrics hint at certain views and politics. It is left open for interpretation, which I prefer. This song reveals their ability to convey different emotions and topics exhibiting the bands depth and range.
I am Terrified is an amazing song. There is a sexuality and vulnerability linked by a binding relationship. This song is powerful and emotional with that epic sound I have come to associate with this album. There is a certain gravity to the lyrics and the raw emotion in Corner's vocals is mind blowing. This song is the very essence of the album and going to be one of my favs for a long time without a doubt.
When I think of England was the first song I heard from the new album since it was released as soon as November of last year for a sampling. My first impression was that this was going to be a bigger and more epic IAMX. This song is such a magnificent blend of ripping guitar riffs, powerful drum beats and a chorus that just tears it up. This song offers an interpreted link between Corner's past and present by the references of England and Berlin. I love this song it makes me want to go run, climb a mountain or something adventurous. Great choice for a first glimpse of their new record.
The Stupid the Proud is a waltzy song with religious undertones. The music is simple and almost nursery rhyme-like. The piano that runs throughout the album is a nice accomplice to the waltz-like backdrop of this song. A xylophone also is sampled through the chorus and interim. A nice mellow song with a strong take on complex battles. It is a nice listen.
You Can be Happy starts with bouncy percussion and breaths of violin. This song is lyrically complex taking on a subject that I have focused on disproportionately for the last year. The view taken is easily justified. The orchestral sound and drum beat throughout are nicely composed. Corner gives an amazing vocal once again and I can't say enough about his performance in this album. He definitely attacked each song with emotion and power. This song is amazing and another great track with an applicability many new songs coming out today lack.
The Great Shipwreck of Life marries the sound of the previous IAMX with the new. Once again a strong statement is made about a pertinent subject. A masterfully composed track with many layers. I love this song. It has a strong runabillity and is another strong track. The drums and pianos again catch my attention as the perfect backdrop for Corner's instrumental voice.
Running is the perfect ending to an amazing album. This track is a saturated soundscape with such relevance that it was an instant favorite. Lyrically and musically a beautiful masterpiece. I can't praise this track enough. It is eerie but at the same time embracing. As a trail runner, and runner in the race of life, I most likely take a different slant on this song. This song conjures up deeper thought and emotion and sends me to a place meant only for my eyes. I am a runner!
I knew this album was going to be good but it far surpassed expectations. I fear along with many other selfish audiophiles who feel they discovered IAMX that this type of record will catapult them into the mainstream. This is great for the band and for creating opportunities to continue their artistic pursuits of making great music, but it also suggests that our secret is out and we now must share. Like explorers from the far reaches of the Earth, those of us obsessed with music love to be on the forefront of discovery and love to be first above all else. When the explorer returns to his secret haunt only to find it covered in loitering teenagers and litter, a small part of the explorer fades with the memory of the discovery. It will be bitter sweet when IAMX is getting play on the local radio stations and their concerts are taken over by hormonally impaired adolescents more interested in hooking up than listening to genius. That being said, this album is a must have, it is strong, epic, runnable, road trippable, and is stunning listened to in the dark or in a warm bath. I feel that Corner and the members of IAMX have created a musical masterpiece. This album finds itself ranked with my top albums of all time. My only complaint is they are not coming anywhere near Victoria at the moment. It is amazing to think back during their concert in SLC for The Alternative there was about 200 of us in the shady night club. I now watch as they are packing large arenas and venues with eager listeners. The IAMX phenomenon has caught hold. It will be difficult to top this record but I am already looking forward to new stuff, I can't get enough. My top record for 2009 thus far.