Earlier this year the Rising Sky EP from US industrial/electro project IIOIOIOII set the imagination away on a warm mesmeric flight bred from its expansive atmospheres and spellbinding synth pop seduction. Equally it stirred up anticipation for and high expectations of the impending album from the North Carolina artist. On a day many hide in the shadows from, Friday 13th of this month will see the dawning of said album and an insatiable tantalising of melodic elegance and consumptive aural caresses which confirms and then crafts to greater heights all the promise and assumptions spawned by its predecessor. Sun is a masterful casting of eighties synth pop and seductive electronic textures which enthral and flirt with ears and emotions from start to finish, a provocateur who is new to the senses but holds a familiarity which makes easy allegiance to its infection seem like destiny.
IIOIOIOII (pronounced I.O.), is the solo project of Charlotte musician Christopher Gurney who since the release of the Rising Sky EP has come under acclaimed attention from fans and media alike. The quality of the four track release sparked something in people and its chosen genre, its seeds and poetical melodies seemingly cultured from an older era but evolving into a fresh and transfixing presence which adds almost classical warmth to the current climes of synth pop. Released as the EP via Juggernaut Music Group, Sun provides a glowing understanding soundscape and incitement for thoughts and emotions which with nostalgia and invention an equally tempting fuel to its enterprise leaves an already eager appetite for the artist full and still greedy.
Rising Sky is the first caress, senses spotting melodies gently coaxing in attention as a sinister industrial/electro rub shadows their enticement. It is an instantly engaging encounter which enriches its lure the further into its evocative depths the song moves. As the welcoming yet also slightly dark tones of Gurney call from within the predacious heat, the song arouses thoughts of eighties bands B-Movie and Modern English. It is a mesmeric start which holds an intimidation but it is held in check by the magnetic elegance of the melodies and the persistently infection laced lure of the song.
The impressive start continues with Weapon, again light and shadow entwines in a dramatic melodic embrace. With an enveloping tantalising ambience stalked by sinewy rhythms, the song simultaneously prowls and seduces the senses and imagination, flowing crystalline melodies making spellbinding bait to which defences are immediately attracted, especially as a Visage like electronic narrative coats the delicious enchanting and intrusive toxicity. The song immerses the senses in a provocative bathing, one which is reassuring but also emotionally exploratory; a trait just as ripe within its successor Stardust. Like those before the song has no urgency in making its full intent known, instead slowly dawning in all its aspects and emotional castings. The evocative slow stroll and celestial kisses from within the melodies sparks another delve in to eighties synth pop, the crafting of Paul Haig coming to mind as well as a darker presence which has whispers of Nine Inch Nails to it. Absorbing and virulently infectious within its reserved yet fully flighted soar, the track pulls the passions even deeper in to the riveting narrative of the album.
For Do You Know Gurney uncages a serpentine malevolence to his haunting vocals, a move again opening new shadows and enticements within the album which the following Falling boldly stretches into even darker realms whilst persistently lighting the way with irresistible melodic and electronic weaves. Gurney’s vocals on the second of the two provide an almost venomous breath to temper but also stretch the glassy beauty flowing easily over the ears; a kind of Frank Tovey meets Mr. Kitty persuasion. Though admittedly the pair nor the invasive but beguiling Spotlight which emerges next manage to ascend the heights of the opening trio of songs, all with sumptuous ease increase the bewitchment from and hunger for Sun.
We’re Still Alive steps forward next with a steely intent and stance to its contagious croon. Like a new sculpting of the haunting invention of Trent Reznor and the chilled imagination of John Foxx, the track is another merciless majestic tempting of the senses and emotions whilst both New Sedations and Echo, the first a feisty discord drenched slice of creative bedlam and the second a ghostly smothering which induces fear and rapture, increase the drama and intrigue of the album. Gurney on the pair again shows with varying success he is unafraid to push his vocals to places they may not be wholly comfortable with but constantly it only adds to the appealing portentous air of songs and release.
After the veering on doomy presence of Goodbye, the album is completed by remixes from Dreams Divide (with Stardust), Revenant Cult (Spotlight), Art Deko (Rising Sky), Garten der Asche ( Spotlight), and Machinista (Stardust), all in their individual ways discovering and extending new aspects and traits to their chosen sources, though truthfully none find the unfussy triumph of the originals. Nevertheless they provide a fine closing stretch for a release which reinforces and forges greater promise within IIOIOIOII; the dangerous beauteous temptation unveiled one rewarding trap to fall for.
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