What exactly is IAMX? Electronic? Rock? You really can’t accurately convey to someone what IAMX is; it has to be heard. And this is exactly the point of it.
Kingdom of Welcome Addiction is the third album from Chris Corner’s IAMX. While the album stays consistent with past efforts in terms of its danceable qualities, dark lyrics, and strong, soaring vocals, it possesses a slightly different formula than The Alternative and Kiss & Swallow. The majority of the tracks are structured around hooks rather than being led by Corner’s vocals. It takes some getting used to. The album feels a bit more mellow and thoughtful than The Alternative, which is much more visceral.
The record seems to deal with the theme of settling into oneself, despite an addiction. The last elements of an internal struggle dissipate in the ‘Nature of Inviting’; surrendering to a power, in a love/hate relationship. In the title track, the lyrics ‘suck at life’ seem a tad pedestrian, but this melancholy march speaks of taking ownership of a fault, and is ultimately an empowering song. ‘TearGarden’, a song about lustful aggression, possesses that half step down in notes that just tugs at my soul- despite my distaste for the name. ‘My Secret Friend’, featuring Imogen Heap, is a very synthy, lightly veiled love song to substances. ‘An I for An I’ is industrial, aggressive, and foreboding; warning about an imminent disaster. Lines such as “we owe it to the sex toys, to the icons of our time” are followed up by the rare bit of guitar. This is proceeded by ‘I Am Terrified’, a stripped down love/lust song with very poignant lyrics:
“I am terrified
I think too much
I get emotional
When I drink too much
I buy every cry
Cause I don’t trust
I am terrified
I think too much”
‘Think of England’ is a transitional song about gathering strength again, and is pointedly biographical in referencing where Corner lives, in Berlin. ‘The Stupid The Proud’ is the most theatrical, telling a story; “God is dead, we get to sleep tonight”, brings up religion and gender themes. ‘You Can Be Happy has a middle eastern intro, and discusses empowerment with a positive beat. ‘The Great Shipwreck of Life’ feels very eighties, and more like it belongs on The Alternative. “I’ll be Peter Pan and you just be pretty”. Acceptance is the message. ‘Running’ has a ‘Closer’-like beat with very melancholy vocals. The tone is ‘sleepy after staying out all night’. A reflective track, the album ends with this comfortable downer.
Kingdom of Welcome Addiction is as equally well crafted as past IAMX albums, however, it’s tone keeps it from becoming immediately attachable. By listen 3, you’ll start to understand.
1. “Nature Of Inviting”
2. “Kingdom Of Welcome Addiction”
3. “Tear Garden”
4. “My Secret Friend” (featuring Imogen Heap)
5. “An I For An I”
6. “I Am Terrified”
7. “Think Of England”
8. “The Stupid The Proud”
9. “You Can Be Happy”
10. “The Great Shipwreck Of Life”
Youtubes of some of the new songs:
I Am Terrified:
You can see IAMX at Slim’s on June 9th