IAMX – Kingdom of Welcome Addiction
Record Label: Metropolis Records
Release Date: May 19, 2009
Ex-Sneaker Pimps frontman Chris Corner has returned with his third studio album under the moniker IAMX. His newest effort, Kingdom of Welcome Addiction, is a dazzling, bass heavy follow up to 2007’s The Alternative. While record label woes and lack of funding have put fans on tenterhooks as to whether this album would even make it to production, the final product is more than worth the wait.
Beginning with the synthesized riff of “Nature of Inviting,” the album gets off to an explosive start. The relentless, steady drum beat echoes in time with vocalist Chris Corner’s alternately high-pitched and mesmerising vocals. Layers upon layers of ambience and synth, as well as a thrumming bass background charging throughout the song, culminate in a huge chorus, with Corner pleading “I love you/I hate you” with equal intensity.
While “Nature of Inviting” has a typical IAMX sound, due to the focus on bass and beats, the album takes a turn towards more variety than was previously shown on both The Alternative and debut album Kiss and Swallow. “Tear Garden” shows diversity in both style and content; breaking away from Corner’s recurring topics of obsession and alienation, the lyrics appear stronger and more thought out than on previous albums. This tenure into more mature and visionary lyrics has definitely been a huge improvement upon previous albums; “In the west they have made a plague / We have built the ship, sailed it to our veins” comes before Corner softly sings about the “biology of universal cruelty,” echoed with haunting orchestral noises in the background.
While IAMX is simply Corner himself, the only additional collaboration of any form comes from Imogen Heap, who provides vocals for the song “My Secret Friend.” Heap’s vocals work flawlessly with Corner’s, simultaneously complimenting and challenging the other. Corner’s vocal versatility shows here, matching Heap’s high points and singing low undercurrents at several points, with the song culminating in an acapella version of the chorus.
Other album highlights include both “An I For An I” and “I Am Terrified,” the former pounding feverishly with offbeat drumming and electronically fuelled guitar, with typical IAMX style. The latter shows a rare tender moment from Corner, with an ostinato effect of pianos ascending in pitch and Corner repeatedly confessing “I am terrified / I am terrified / I am terrified.”
Those familiar with IAMX’s work will no doubt be pleased; while a departure from 2007’s The Alternative, there are enough tracks on this album to keep old fans interested and coming back for more of the staple IAMX sound. There is enough progression and new approaches on this album, however, to show that IAMX are definitely not a one trick pony and are definitely here to stay.
I am in love with this album (as indicated by my avatar)... I'm just wondering though, I didn't see any negative remarks in this review - what didn't you like about it? What do you think could have been improved? You gave it pretty average ratings.
I'm biased though... I think the album's near perfect, haha. I can't find any significant flaws.