Electronic sunshine of the insomniac mind!
Creating the moniker IAMX in 2004 as a way of being true to himself and being more creatively independent with his music, Chris Corner (formerly of the Sneaker Pimps), throws down his therapeutic and cathartic 11-track Metanoia, his sixth album. It’s with this continued freedom and internal exploration that IAMX returns after a two-and-a-half year hiatus, while showing a mature growth from his earlier releases.
The album opens with “No Maker Made Me,” a beautifully sewn together song with distorted instrumentals and yearning vocals that create luscious textures to stimulate your ears. A strong start to the album! Corner’s soaring, atmospheric falsetto vocals beckon you into the nocturnal, dark theatre of a burlesque show on tracks like “Say Hello Melancholia.” “North Star,” a great song that begs to be club-worthy, continues the ear candy, while “The Background Noise” opens with gorgeous choral singing and throbbing keyboarding that could lull you into a wonderful, eternal sleep. “Insomnia” continues the strong keyboarding on this album as we hear a nice keyboard promenade to open the song as Corner’s powerfully tortured and chilling, resonating vocals continue to impress. Listeners are then swept along to the slow-burning, ebullient “Happiness” and frenzied “Aphrodisiac,” as Corner’s relentless vocals rise to a register that eunuchs would envy. His vocals bleed over his tracks with the haunting “Surrender” and then, amid the swirling synths, we come full circle to the closing moments of the album with “Wildest Wind,” which unpeels itself with a slow piano opening and then breaks down into ominous lower register keyboarding as this superb ballad fades into the darkness, thus ending our listening pleasure. A great choice to end the album with.
Working with keyboardist Janine Gezang, the diverse, sumptuous noises found across this album showcase Corner’s strongest talents in risk taking with instrumental engineering as he was tackling his own personal demons during production. It’s difficult to find a bad track on this pastiche of electronic stylings with lyrical themes touching on gender identity, death, love, and addiction.
Metanoia’s entertaining arrangements wistfully exude an unquestionably delightful, unfolding aural landscape of sonic metaphors for his legion of international fans and get better with multiple listens. Corner’s ever-changing rich, fertile, electronic performance must be admired as an above average, highly effective effort.
-Chris X (aka: the “Dis·si·dent Mankey”)
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: IAMX – METANOIA