Nov 2013 01

IAMX - The Unified FieldIAMX
Category: Synthpop
Album: The Unified Field
Stars: 3.5
Blurb: After constant critical acclaim in the underground, IAMX makes an album everyone can enjoy… sort of.


Chris Corner is no stranger to the synthesizer and in The Unified Field, it shows. Surprisingly, with the exception of the title track, the album begins with considerable strength, from dreamy to rocking. Corner’s sequences and arpeggios transport you to a mechanical world full of wonder and impending danger; though, perhaps a bit slow for some listeners’ taste. “The Adrenaline Room” was considerably likable; distorted vocals, glitch, and hooks melded into a song that had the feel of a snake slithering across your chest. It had a flavor reminiscent of early Nine Inch Nails.

The rest of the album is mired with danceable beats and piano layered pads driving songs with no discernible direction. Some songs weren’t unpleasant (if only that), but contained few memorable moments. Some songs were soft lullabies that could literally bore you into a deep sleep. “Quiet the Mind,” for instance, felt like it should have been touching and emotional, but one might consider using it when the NyQuil has been misplaced; if it’s any consolation to IAMX, the chimes were enjoyable. The songs to follow were a regretful reminder why indie-inspired electronic rock lacks mass appeal. Upbeat drum tempos and analog synthesizers that otherwise would’ve breathed with excitement felt hindered by slow vocals and acoustic guitar. Corner’s falsetto was unpleasant, but was, fortunately, easily tuned out by beautifully crafted mechanical synthesizers.

Some songs stood out greatly. “Come Home” and “Animal Impulses” were eerie and interesting, composed of layers of sounds, some spooky and some with an air of class to rival James Bond; songs perfectly fitting for assassinating a neighboring hotel guest with piano wire while his armed guards preoccupied themselves at the bar. The album trails off like a friend forgetting the end of a long story. First, with a ballad about something or other, but the listener might lose consciousness and hit his or her head on the desk before the story becomes clear; then, with a ditty that may or may not be a joke, with no true verse or chorus, just a few vocal lines and dreamy riffs befitting an outro stretched into almost four minutes.

Within context, Chris Corner is quite an artist; his beats never fail, are always pleasant, interesting, syncopated, and lightly distorted to the perfect pitch. His sound palette is not just pleasing, but harsh, grinding, and perfectly analog, leaving one salivating at the thought of what sounds might come next. The production quality is nothing less than professional and IAMX deserves credit for a long career of quality music, regardless of how one feels about its level of rock. Fans of IAMX will find their expectations met by an album that could only be considered consistent with his work, but anyone looking for a new reason to get into this band will have to look elsewhere.
Track list:

  1. I Come with Knives
  2. Sorrow
  3. Quiet the Mind
  4. The Unified Field
  5. The Adrenalin Room
  6. Under Atomic Skies
  7. Screams
  8. Come Home
  9. Animal Impulses
  10. Walk with the Noise
  11. Land of Broken Promises
  12. Trials

IAMX Website
IAMX MySpace
IAMX Facebook
IAMX Twitter
IAMX ReverbNation
IAMX Bandcamp
61 Seconds Website
Metropolis Records Website
Metropolis Records MySpace
Metropolis Records Facebook
Metropolis Records Twitter
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
Amazon Vinyl
John Spranza (JSpranza)

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