November 08, 2020
(Soulpunk)This collective with connections to Young Fathers and Soho offer up a bold, fat-free debut
Iklan: Album Number 1 review – impressively taut electronica
It takes a certain year-zero chutzpah for an artist to release a debut album that omits all of their singles to date, but that’s what London/Birmingham/Edinburgh collective Iklan do on Album Number 1. Centred on sometime Young Fathers producer Timothy London, AKA Tim Brinkhurst, and vocalist Law Holt, with able backing from sisters Pauline and Jacqui Cuff (best known for their work with London as Smiths-sampling 90s pop act Soho), they’ve been working together for three years, and their recent prolific output – four standalone singles, with more promised – has almost felt like a clearing of the decks ahead of the album.
Given how much material they’ve chosen to exclude, it’s a surprise that Album Number 1 is so concise. Its 10 songs – all warped and distorted beats, alternately jarring discordance and woozy trip-hop – rattle past in just 23 minutes, their clipped, fat-free structures owing more to early Wire than any more obvious electronica peers, with no idea lasting long enough to outstay its welcome. Against this ever-shifting backdrop, Holt, an NHS nurse, holds centre stage, her unambiguous lyrics addressing racial identity (Who Am I) and police brutality (Pray for Timeless – musically, imagine a more austere take on Anohni’s 4 Degrees). It’s telling, however, that the outstanding moment comes with the irresistible momentum of No Use, wherein lie the most conventional pop dynamics of anything here.
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