Icon For Hire’s vibrant aesthetics and artistic visuals make it hard to ignore the duo when their name pops up on YouTube. But it’s about the music and not the hair, right? Proving their ability to defy genres while composing a truly catchy track, they are set to release Amorphous on Friday, February 19, 2021 thanks to Kartel Music Group.
Since forming in 2007, Ariel Bloomer (vocals) and Shawn Jump (guitar, keys) have set out to create a strong sense of community through their music, achieving this by spreading messages of positivity and personal empowerment. These are themes that have weighed heavily throughout their career, which currently spans four full-lengths, including 2011’s Scripted and 2016’s You Can’t Kill Us. And with such a candid and open heart sitting at the center of Bloomer’s lyrics, Icon For Hire has managed to make a spiritual connection with a legion of fans whom they refer to as the Icon Army.
We last heard from the twosome on 2018’s Still Can’t Kill Us: Acoustic Sessions, so it seems the time is fully ripe for some new material. The 14-track Amorphous is just this: an album chock full of passionate emotions, eclectic influences, and enough courage to perpetually defy genre within the span of each individual track. Produced by Jump and David Thulin (TJ Jackson, Andreas Moss), mixed by Romesh Dodangoda (Bring Me the Horizon, Bullet For My Valentine) and mastered by Howie Weinberg (Papa Roach, Twenty One Pilots), the collection is composed of high energy Rock offerings seated alongside soaring anthems, with plenty to offer the duo’s fans.
Amorphous opens to “Brittle (Prelude),” a just under a minute introduction that flows flawlessly into the LP’s proper first track, “Brittle.” Here, Icon For Hire’s ‘90 Alternative Rock influences mesh with a clear love for Linkin Park, creating a sound that is Hip-Hop meets Electronica with intimate moments from Bloomer who wears her scars with pride. And though the amalgamation of sound may seem a bit odd at times, there’s no denying how catchy the end result can be.
Despite the pair’s penchant for experimentation and fluid genre-crossing, what follows fits perfectly with this introduction. From the uncertainty of “Curse Or Cure” to the ethereal synth orchestration on “Panic Attacks,” they continuously offer straightforward confessions that touch on universally relatable issues of mental health and self-love. In fact, they offer quite a few anthems for the disenfranchised misfits and freaks in songs like “Seeds,” stand-out offering “Last One Standing,” and the bratty rocker “Waste My Hate.”
Where they truly shine brightest, however, tends to be in the gentler moments when Bloomer provides her fans with an intimate glance into her heart. Case in point, the sweet melancholia of “Background Sad” is alluring in its simplicity, while the interlude “Thirteen” shows a world of vast potential in its magical delicacy. Album closer “Only Be A Story” is another example of this power found in minimalism, as the piano-led power ballad delivers one of the most passionate vocal performances on the record.
There’s an effortless diversity to the sounds explored on Amorphous that shows the depth of Icon For Hire’s talents and continued love for their craft. Once again expounding upon topics of mental health, exploring the idea that our painful life experiences are often harbingers of personal growth, thematically and lyrically the LP is home to the sincere and relatable lyrics that fans have come to expect from Bloomer.
Musically, however, there are a lot of ideas happening, which is both a blessing and a curse. It’s this feverish creativity that births some hits and a few misses, but that never stops the brightest moments on Amorphous from shining through. When they are at their finest hour, they’re a PVRIS/Linkin Park hybrid with Punk attitude and the electronic finesse of Zedd. And who can hate on that? For this, Cryptic Rock gives Amorphous 3.5 of 5 stars.