Renny Acheson, Staff Reporter

On September 21, the Los Angeles-based, avant-garde rap collective BROCKHAMPTON released their fifth studio album, entitled “iridescence”. Led by frontman Kevin Abstract, the group is composed not only of vocalists, but producers, graphic and web designers, photographers and managers, who all contributed to the realization of “iridescence”.

Following other albums entitled “All-American Trash” and “Saturation I, II, and II,” “iridescence” combines previously established artistic norms of the group with new stylistic themes and sounds. While all of the song titles are capitalized in the manner of past albums, the title is completely uncapitalized. The visual details fittingly reflect the newly-imagined sound and feel of the album.

“They’re very different from the normal BROCKHAMPTON sound,” first-year student Matt Cho says, of the new songs.

Though previous listeners of the group may be surprised to hear the new atmosphere of their music, “iridescence” provides the perfect entry point for any interested new fans. Among the 15 songs on the album, there exists a wide variety of moods, ranging from joy to anger to excitement to heartbreak.

Attesting to the impact of the album, first-year student Beth Kutina says “I really liked it, it has a good bopping energy.”

The songs that resonate with traditional hip-hop style, with greater beats per minute, repetitive background loops, verses rapped by different vocalists and assorted nonmusical sounds, ring similarly to previous Brockhampton tracks. These songs, including “NEW ORLEANS,” “J’OUVERT,” and “BERLIN” provide an invigorating soundtrack for dancing, working out or releasing tension.

However, the album also takes on a more reflective and somber tone in particular songs. Some of these pieces associate more closely with an R&B style and address topics that are more thought-provoking, including mental health, violence and LGBTQ rights.

First-year student Christian Bailey comments on Kevin Abstract’s verse in “WEIGHT”: “It really comes from the heart, especially as he’s talking about his experience as a gay man in an area that isn’t too accepting of homosexuality. I think it’s really powerful.”

Though issues pertaining to race and sexuality are no new territory for BROCKHAMPTON, “iridescence” more deeply explores the vulnerability of the experience of black queerness. The album explores love, emotion, masculinity and childhood through a powerful combination of electrifying sensory experiences and sentimental poetry.

Cho speaks to the artistic power of the group: “BROCKHAMPTON has always been different, not really traditional rap. They’ve always tried to put their own spin on things.”

“Iridescence” draws inspiration from various sources, featuring voiceovers, skits and interludes that complement the subject matter of the songs. The album serves different purposes, both as an intimate cultural experience with focused listening and as a fantastic soundtrack for any high-energy function.