Icon Blu are packing a lot into their self-titled debut album Icon Blu. Touching on themes such as love, spontaneity and the twists and turns of a relationship, the album weaves this into the soundscape of life. Using fun and emotional melodies, the duo looks to infuse their music with life and help listeners embrace who they are.
A new band formed only 6 months ago by producer Bolkano and vocalist Niki Black, they are holding nothing back. Jumping around the realm of sounds, they take you from melancholy to unbridled happiness. If you are looking for an album that manifests everything life has to offer, this might just be it.
The album starts with ‘Run Free’ which is aptly named. There is a free-spiritedness to this track that hits you from the opening and that is threaded into the lyrics. The track has a movement to it that makes you feel free and fills you with a sense of spontaneity. Woven into the free feeling of the track is a youthful energy that you get swept up in.
‘I Don’t Need Anyone But You’ draws you in with some swirling synths before Black’s vocals hit you. There is something fun and upbeat about her performance that is matched by the energy of the melody. The chorus is catchy and very easy to sing along with. This is one of the easiest tracks on the album with a rather infectious vibe.
Things take a turn on ‘Taste’ with Bolkano’s vocals taking over and the melody changing for a groovier vibe. There is a sultry smoothness to this track melding with the intimacy of the vocal performance. The intimacy gives way on the chorus for something more expansive, but returns for Black’s vocals. The whispered almost hissing tones during the chorus is an interesting addition that just injects a little something to the song.
‘Blur’ has an epic feeling from the first moment, but this is a little at odds with the lyrics. The paced tempo of the track does take on a slightly aggressive edge on the chorus before you are dropped back into something darker and more resigned for the verses. This song takes on the low twists of a relationship tackling the darker parts of some relationships.
The next track is ‘Wait’ which has a very infectious start that turns into deep pulsing synths. Black’s vocals are a light layer over the deep melody and Bolkano’s deeper vocals. The melody has almost staccato notes at times that pulse through you in an interesting way. Overall, this is a very engaging track that keeps you on your toes as you listen.
‘It Ain’t That Easy’ takes a lighter turn after the last song with clicking notes and bubbling synths. Black’s performance has a smoothness before hitting you with a pure pop chorus. The increase for the chorus is a fun blast between the almost melancholic verses. The lively chorus also is a little at odds with the lyrics, but that somehow makes the song more fun to listen to.
Black’s vocals have a hazy airiness in the opening of ‘Go Babe’. This turns to something darker before Bolkano’s vocals come in as a higher level to the song. The lyrics take a look at being stifled in a relationship before a relationship ends. There are two sides to the story in this song that is very interesting to hear. While Black is being stifled and is imploring, Bolkano is almost bored and dismissive.
‘Please Don’t Drive’ has a light opening that draws you in with a great guitar line and plucky light notes. This song is packed full of sexual tension threaded into a plea for someone to stay. Like the last song, this one offers both sides of the story which is very interesting. Often you only get one side of the tale, but the two sides have such different takes that you have to pause and consider what is being said.
The album ends with ‘I Made It’ which draws you in with a piano line and Black’s high vocals. The warbling tones over the piano add to the dreamy soundscape Black’s vocals create. While there is a lightness to the sound, there is also something dark coming up from the depths. This crashing out for the chorus which is not as happy as you might think when you first start listening. There is a dark co-dependence within the lyrics that take everything in a different direction.
Icon Blu takes you on an emotional rollercoaster with their catchy self-titled debut album. Each track takes on a different aspect of relationships offering both sides of the story. However, there is always something darker lurking in the tracks which often seem fun and happy on the surface.