It's been almost five years since Radiant, but the wait for new Iris is over. They've been teasing us for weeks, starting with video snippets and then with full songs, but today Six is finally out in its entirety. As with any of my favorite bands, I've been giddy with excitement ahead of this release, but Iris releases are a completely different scenario. I actually got up an hour before I normally do (we're talking an AM time that starts with a 4!) to listen to the record before I had to go to work. Having it pre-ordered since it was announced, being able to soak it all in from start to finish was vital. I'm already on my fourth playthrough at this point, and the day isn't over!
So, what makes Six any different than any other marquee release? Well, for starters, I've been a fan of Iris since they were on the little synthpop train that could record label, A Different Drum. From Disconnect, Awakening, Wrath, Blacklight, Radiant, and now the aptly titled Six, their records have been a day one purchase for me. Iris isn't your typical band, and more often than not, fans are okay with the gaps between albums. Why? Because the results make the wait worth it. There's not a filler track in their discography, and that puts them in some rarified air (see, I didn't use the word legendary earlier on accident). So, with all this anticipation ahead of Six, has it met my expectations and upheld the lofty standards that Iris have maintained over two decades of synthpop dominance? The short answer is yes. The long answer? Also yes.
Six begins with "Third Strike," a track that began the teaser campaign Iris set about once the new album was announced. The song is a builder that keeps adding onto itself until it finally breaches your speakers and pulls you into the record. I can't think of a better way to hook your listener than an undeniably catchy, and undeniably "Iris" song. It delivers a new sound but there's no mistaking the duo of Reagan Jones and Andrew Sega behind the paint brush and painters palette. "Take the Pain" stands out as a new favorite, with a driving beat and another example of the band building to a multi-layered crescendo, it's definitely one that I have trouble moving past without playing again. What makes it tough is that I know the equally amazing "One Kind" that follows it, an immersive track that delivers a one-two punch of a great melody along with a strong message of togetherness. Seriously, from track 1 to 11, Six is a synthpop dream, but what if I told you that you could have more?
As Iris is known to do, there's a deluxe edition of Six, known as Six (Luxus). I'll give you one guess as to which one I bought, ha! Six (Luxus) doesn't stop at track 11, on the contrary, you get a grand total of 18 tracks! Four are unreleased songs, and three are remixes, and not your ordinary remixes...I'm talking heavyweight remixes by Mesh, Neuroticfish, and Solar Fake, some of the biggest names in modern synthpop. Physical editions that you can find HERE for US/Canada, and HERE for Worldwide. You can also find the album at Bandcamp, where digital editions of both versions are available.