Admittedly, I was knocked off my seat when I first heard Iroha (their split with Fragment, Bittersweet was an engaging listen) and immediately began awaiting the release of their first LP; but herein lies the problem, there was waiting and waiting and more waiting until I literally forgot about this record coming out at all (which certainly is a shame). After pre-ordering the album (yes, I still pay for my music), even more waiting ensued; and after enduring a minor calamity (long story involving crashing hard drives and sheer chaos), I finally was able to sit down with the first LP from Iroha.
Now, there is a great deal being made of the sonic resemblance of Iroha to that of Jesu (with whom Iroha bassist Diarmuid Dalton has also performed and recorded); and while any notions to that effect are not inaccurate, it is certainly a disservice to Iroha to simply write the group off as a Jesu clone because there are subtle differences that do show a different perspective of that sound or style. Iroha is much more a band than Jesu and that comes through on the performances on the record as the songs sound more like a collective work than one man’s vision, and when songs like “Watercolors” and “Autumn Leaves” play, they sound like works that have been created and honed through band practices and writing sessions rather than being mostly a studio project. The vocal performances are unique in that even though they are buried in the mix (check out “Reminisce”), the breath-y and deep vocals almost force you to strain to hear them; but this seems to work well for the songs in a way that forcing them forward in the mix might take away the overall effect. “Dreams” certainly sounds like the most Jesu-esque song of the set, and, sure people could point to this as a knock on the band’s creative credibility by ignoring the rest of the album.
Iroha is an excellent album; stop, what you are thinking now because it most definitely is. The eight songs (and the eight remixes on the remix album that are included with the self titled record) are lush sounding and dreamy slow pop songs that also incorporate some well placed atmospheric electronics to further flesh out the overall sound and mood (which consequently drifts “dangerously” close to one of my “numb” records); I find this first album by Iroha to be strangely infectious and certainly is a big part of my current musical rotation, and my interest in the band was not only justified but also already has me waiting with baited breath to hear what they do next.
8.0 / 10
Sometimes it feels strange championing a band, but I feel as though Iroha are one of those bands that deserve to be heard but people (at least here in the ...
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