I know I may sound like a broken record here, but despite us collectively suffering through the absolute hell-fest of a year that is 2020, at least we get to eat well with all the records that have been dropping. I personally find that there is no better way to mull over our unending despair with some very slow and broody music. These slow jams are perfect for wallowing in pure melancholy. 2020 is the year for doom and gloom, and the new Iress record, Flaw, is the soundtrack that will get us through our perpetual torment.
When everything is going wrong and you just don’t know what to do or think, sometimes all you need is something as simple and reliable as a warm cup of coffee to make everything better; Flaw is that cup of coffee. Iress’ newest effort is something you’re almost guaranteed to find comfort in, despite what you may be going through. This record isn’t one that will go above and beyond and blow your mind, but it achieves everything that it aims to do. Iress have created a short and sweet record that will leave you with a hankering for more, which is the goal after all.
From blending dark indie rock and sludge metal akin to both Chelsea Wolfe and Emma Ruth Rundle’s works, to the thick and dreamy atmosphere heard in Holy Fawn and Mountaineer, Iress have really created something that I can’t get enough of. Throughout Flaw, you’ll find simple yet incredibly effective choruses with very prominent and reverberating vocal passages that leave a long-lasting impression on you. Rather than focusing on simple catchy choruses, the vocal delivery is much more heartfelt and emotionally powerful when compared to those on their previous record, Prey.
The opening track, “Shamed”, wastes no time and takes you right to the meat and potatoes of this record, with the super doomy and grungy instrumentation spearheaded by Michelle Malley’s soulful and moving vocals. Tracks like “Shamed”, “Nest”, and “Underneath” will all just emotionally devastate you with their thick yet dreamy guitar tones and those sorrowful vocals. The stellar production also helps make everything fit together to create a very mesmerizing and hypnotic listening experience all the way through.
As mentioned, the record wastes no time just digging into those grungy post-rock vibes that burrow right into your soul. Although a short record overall that still seems to fly by, half the record focuses on that grungy, broody sound while the other half dials it back to bring the dreamy soundscapes to the foreground. Despite being relatively slow in general, there is no single moment in which Flaw drags on or feels too long. The two tracks that stray from the path are “Shallow”, a slow burner that builds to this massive Cult of Luna-esque climax, and “Hand Tremor”, the brief acoustic outro track that lets you down slowly after this emotional journey.
Flaw is a fantastic rainy-day record; one that is gloomy and incredibly bleak, yet equally consoling and captivating. More often than not, there is comfort to be found in realizing that someone else is going through difficult times, just as you may be. The realization that you’re not alone in what you’re experiencing can give you some much-needed peace of mind, and Iress‘ latest release does exactly that. It is one of those records that makes you feel notably better after listening to it, and that feeling doesn’t get dull or boring, no matter how many times you listen through.