Illinois rock duo Icon For Hire come forth with ‘Amorphous’, an album that proves a strong and loyal fanbase is stronger than a large one, seeing them crowdfund over $263,000 to bring it together.
Opener ‘Brittle’Icon For Hire fan is sure to love.
One of the most interesting things that the pair have experimented with on this record is tip-toeing in a variety of genres. ‘Curse Or Cure’ is the heavier track on offer, with an incredible guitar breakdown from Shawn Jump which wouldn’t feel out of place on any heavy rock album.
However, it’s ‘Panic Attacks’ that really stands out. Vocalist Ariel Bloomer opens up about her issues with anxiety as she battles with her inner voice in this impressively frenzied hip-hop inspired track. Luckily, we get to witness her rapping again in the short interlude ‘Impossible And Obstacles’, offering a definitely impressive new side to the duo, which would be great to see in future works.
Taking the pace down a notch, ‘Background Sad’ is a beautifully written ballad which will no doubt be relatable to many, as Bloomer questions if any of the hard work you put to better yourself is ever actually worth it. This track goes pretty deep, but the vulnerability Bloomer puts into the spotlight will no doubt pay off with the amount of people who will completely feel the same.
The standout tracks on ‘Amorphous’ definitely fall somewhere amongst huge sing-along borderline pop hits mixed with the badass girl power aesthetic. ‘Enemies’ oozes a very typical Icon For Hire vibe, with catchy ear worm lyrics “With friends like these / Who needs enemies?” lingering in your head hours later.
However, it’s ‘Waste My Hate’ that steals the show. It’s sassy, playful, and yet another new side to the duo that just works so well. The track provides a light relief in what is quite a serious album and still manages to briefly touch on the theme of feminism, but doesn’t allow it to become too serious, whereas ‘Sticks And Stones’ allows Bloomer to focus on the theme in more detail.
Since Icon For Hire left their record label, they’ve always been extremely vocal about their gratitude towards their fanbase, and ‘Seeds’ acts as the perfect thank you track for that. The song surrounds how they’ve managed to survive as an underground band for so many years, using this metaphor of growth (“They tried to bury us / They didn’t know we were seeds”) and how it’s all because of their fans as to why they’re still going, and, without them, ‘Amorphous’ wouldn’t exist.
Although the entirety of the album is just one high production hit after the other, both ‘Last One Standing’ and ‘Warriors’ are clearly the anthemic frontrunners. Both songs have this larger than life feel to them and perfectly summarise exactly what this album is all about.
For an album that was formed purely because so many people wanted to hear this duo make music, it ticks all the boxes. ‘Amorphous’ is fun, experimental, and still focuses on some important and personal issues. Although it’ll be interesting to see if this approach is how they take all their future albums, there’s no denying that Icon For Hire are an extremely talented pair.