Based in South-east England and formed in 2009, the five-piece group I.R.I.S. is the kind of band that are most likely to shake up the hive and bring the honey home in the next few years. From their raucously energetic song ‘Lie For Me’ through to their lyrically sensuous track ‘The Shade’ you realize that this band does not compromise on the promise or the talent.
When the boys cracked open their honeycomb of sweet sounds to let the fumes escape to the delighted joy of the crowd in Staines Hobgoblin on Thursday, you could almost taste the anticipation. Each I.R.I.S. song seemed to be handpicked from an almost inexhaustible song-book of witty, well written and creatively dynamic numbers. Take, for example, ‘Over This Before’ with a rat-a-tat streaming intro of drums from stick-meister Darrel and those driving citric harmonies from Mark and Adam, with a juicy central section and jangly guitars. The mood is pushed to the limits by the three guitars, before the inspiring and mournful lead break is thrust through those manfully jogging chords. This song touches the vein and makes the heart grow stronger.
New single ‘Drain The Ocean’ (available for a listen on the I.R.I.S. web-site, see link below) is a more boisterous and more turbulent affair but possesses some neat dynamic tension- although, in my opinion, some fairly commonplace ideas hold it back a little. But their next single ‘The Shade’ takes some beating… this number begins with a fanfare of agreeable light and fast chords and a heaps of crisp guitar lines along with mounds of sorbet sweet vocals that slowly rise up to some fairly majestic highs – this song rises well above your expectations. The guitarwork from James overlords it all, like a noble king-cobra might entwine it’s prey. This song is both hypnotic and effective.
‘Lie For Me’ is as crazy as a grasshopper catching a ride on a firecracker that goes by. This song sways, bounces and bumps all around the room and leaves you bruised, beaten and exhausted, yet still panting for more. Vocals are atmospheric and soulful, while the wall of guitar sound washes over you like a wave of white water.
The crowd pleaser was ‘Thicker Than Water’ the final song, a package of glorious richly layered sounds set against lightly tapped percussion and with a cool, yet luxurious melody beating beneath the surface and some handsomely neat harmonies. This is a majestic singsong production of anthemic proportions. This band has serious intentions and the progressive nature of their music and the complicated, but accessible compositions, show that this band is in the business of making and delivering their songs within some masterful performances.
I share the ardent desire to see this band get up and take their rightful place in the pantheon of Brit Rock.