After 5 years of total radio silence, Iris is back with a new album. Entitled Six, it is stylistically darker than their last outing, Radiant. It bears a greater resemblance to Blacklight in its tone and style. Six contains a well-crafted collection of 11 melodic tracks, each with its own unique hooks and stylistic touches, waiting to be discovered.
Iris’ sound has always evolved slowly, which has contributed to its enduring popularity on the modern synthpop scene. This album adds guitar riffs to the mix, adding emphasis and a new dimension to several tracks.
Reagan Jones’ vocals are in peak form, projecting warmth and emotion that contrast nicely with the sweeps and stabs of Andrew Sega’s perfectly-crafted synth riffs and icy electric guitar riffs.
Third Strike opens the album with a syncopated bass synth and Reagan’s vocals, punctuated by spacy electronic sounds. It’s a great start to a solid album.
Feeder contrasts a meaty, distorted bass synth in the verses with a soaring guitar with just a touch of reverb in the chorus for a bright, engaging sound. It’s one of my favorite tracks on Six.
In Silent, a simple guitar riff provides the foundation for this sparsely-constructed ballad. Once the bass synth kicks in, it plays a more melodic role, playing a simple melody that contrasts with Reagan’s plaintive vocals, which caution, “I won’t be silent anymore.”
Pure White Snow is more of a layered affair, with buzzy synths playing around percussion effects. This track is the closest thing to a danceable, melodic song on Six.
Take the Pain is another favorite, with its driving synth rhythm and percussion and clever, minor-key vocals (“I’m a survivalist/Because I can take the pain.”).
One Kind has a reflective tone that’s well suited to its theme of global unity.
Final Fate reflects on what comes at the end of this life. A sparse arrangement complements Reagan’s thoughtful vocals quite nicely.
Six is available in 3 editions: A regular CD, 12″ limited vinyl, as well as a rare 36-page hardcover artbook with 7-track bonus disc, including unreleased songs and remixes by MESH, Neuroticfish and Solar Fake.
Six is a worthy addition to the Iris canon. Andrew Sega and Reagan Jones still have stories to tell through their artfully constructed music, and the world is a better place for it.