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Album reviews
Artist:
Iris
Album:
Slowly, Forever
Release year:
2019
Label:
Self-released
27 November 2019 / by Alexander Ramsay (author)

Genre: Shoegaze, Dream Pop

Similar Artists: Slowdive, Cloakroom, Whirr

 

Shoegaze has become something of a notoriously hard genre to make sound fresh in recent years. New albums will inevitably earn comparisons to the genre’s three biggest groups - My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive and Ride. Understandably, there’s only so much that a band can do with massive washes of reverb and fuzz before it becomes repetitive.

 

However, Toronto shoegaze band Iris’s debut full-length album Slowly, Forever - released after several years of the band dropping nothing but EPs - manages to carve out a satisfyingly dreamy place in the genre, largely without managing to sound monotonous or tedious.

 

The album’s best moments, on songs like ‘Satisfy’, ‘Sleep’ and ‘Slowly, Forever’, come out of a swirl of blissful sounding vocals and thick, heavy guitar tones that wouldn’t sound out of place on a grunge or alt-rock record. The title track in particular has a towering, borderline anthemic sound that provides an opportunity for every instrument to shine. Songwriting credits are shared between bandmates Scott Downes and Meg Boni, both of whom manage to conjure a passion in their vocal performances that stands out against the perishing, whispery vocals of so much of the genre. 

 

Iris is less successful when they pare back their sound and lean more into the dream pop side of things on “When We’re Together’ and ‘Cycle’. These are songs that feel more akin to short interludes than anything else, both topping out below three minutes in length. While not badly written songs per se, they will just feel much more familiar to anyone who has listened to artists like Galaxie 500 or Cocteau Twins

 

Aside from the album's occasional missteps, Slowly, Forever manages to solidify Iris’s place as one of the most exciting indie bands currently based in Toronto, updating an old sound for a new decade. 

 

Best of: ‘Satisfy’, ‘Sleep’, ‘Away’, ‘Slowly Forever’

Worst of: ‘Cycle’, ‘When We’re Together’ 

Rating: 7/10 

 
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The author

Alexander Ramsay

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