For a band as prolific as Brockhampton have been, 2018 has been a quiet year for the “World’s best boy band”. Sure, they finally came over to Europe and absolutely killed it, including heroic sets at Reading and Leeds Festival and two sold-out shows at London’s KOKO. Sure, they dropped some of their finest singles to date in the form of ‘1997 DIANA’, ‘1998 TRUMAN, and ‘1999 WILDFIRE’, but after a 2017 that saw them release three albums, it was always going to be difficult to top that. Brockhampton, however, have been breaking perceptions since their inception.
Their latest album, iridescence, could be their best one yet and it’s certainly the record that’s going to allow Kevin Abstract and co. to take on their quest for world domination. Recorded in just ten days at Abbey Road Studios, it’s easily the band’s most consistent project yet, cleverly eschewing singles in favour of a more wholesome project. There’s no outright single, such as ‘BOOGIE’ or ‘GUMMY’ on the SATURATION projects, instead every song makes its claim for the very best on the record. At such a young age, Brockhampton have been there and done that and, with iridescence technically counting as their fifth record, their maturity and experience is clear.
Brockhampton have always been a cohesive and seamless band, but iridescence is consistently and constantly a joy to listen to. Kicking off with ‘NEW ORLEANS’ and smoothly continuing into ‘THUG LIFE’, it’s almost the perfect exhibition of what makes the band great. Exciting pop-meets-hip-hop beats, with each member of the band getting a chance to shine, Brockhampton sound fresher than they ever have and, in this sample-heavy generation, that’s incredibly impressive.
This isn’t only Brockhampton shot at establishing themselves as one of the world’s biggest bands, though, this is as much a statement about the band’s stance on Ameer Vann’s exit from the band. Kicked out for serious sexual assault allegations just days after signing a huge record deal, the band use iridescence to talk about the situation. “It’s different reconciling with skeletons I ain’t know that I possessed,” states Dom McLennon on ‘THUG LIFE’, but that’s almost the opposite of what iridescence is doing. BROCKHAMPTON are not only unpackaging what happened and acknowledging it, they’re regrouping and assembling in the limelight, proving they’ve got nothing to hide.
“Why the hell the BBC only writes about me/ When it comes down to controversy?” Kevin Abstract concludes on ‘FABRIC’. “What about three CDs in one year with no label? And we signed and our story turned into a fucking fable”. Despite the controversy – and the ‘quiet year’ – Brockhampton have not only become a household name with iridescence, they’ve become an outright institution. They are truly the world’s best boy band.