I stumbled upon Icon For Hire a few months ago, but wasn’t lucky enough to get their album in full until now. I’ve listened non-stop to their debut album Scripted for weeks, and it’s one of those things I wanted to have the perfect words for. I’ve never had music impact my thoughts, feelings, and emotions as much as this. Pure obsession.
Icon For Hire, originally from Illinois, is a four piece band fronted by lead singer, Ariel. I hate to make this comparison, because it happens all the time with chicks in rock-alternative bands, but think Paramore on “˜roid rage and having a heart attack. Icon For Hire’s music gets under your flesh so much it makes you burn with excitement. That is one element a lot of bands can’t bring to the table.
The album opens with “Overture,” a 30 second orchestral and techno-infused intro and fades into the powerhouse, “Theater.” If you heard this opener during a live show, you’d know something huge was coming. They’re aggression and charge is out-of-control mind-blowing. It seems like every drum kick, snare hit, bass slap, and guitar riff couldn’t be played any harder. Their passion for their music shows with every note; you feel what they feel.
Track 3, “Make A Move,” was the first Icon For Hire song I ever heard and words can’t even describe it’s genius composition. There’s a massively strong groove, and the lyrics are piercing. The breakdowns and backing track make this song stand out from the rest. A roundhouse kick to the face. Although, with every song you wonder, “How could this get any better?!”
Ariel’s lyrical structure is prodigious. Words, among hooks, are the most important parts of songs for me. Track 4, “Get Well,” opens up with the lyrics “We throw tantrums like parties, we’re not happy “˜til everyone knows we’re sick.” For some reason, I have memorized this play on words to the point that they’re written in my veins, my entity. After utter madness to your ears, things slow down at track 5, “The Grey.” A beautiful piano arrangement accompanied by haunting vocals with an orchestral arrangement that is beyond beautiful.
The synthesizers used in “Off With Her Head” are undeniably catchy layered with hardcore, dirty guitars. This song paints a mental picture, its own music video in my head. There’s such a painful, descriptive story that digs into your soul. At about the 0:46 and 1:37 minute marks, there are pretty sick timing changes with the vocal arrangement. A very cool contrast to the guitars and drums.
Finally, the last track on this album, “Pieces” has one of the most amazing layering compositions I’ve ever heard (starting at about 2:45). The orchestration is unbelievable, and the stacks of vocals with multiple harmonies is pretty flooring. It feels like Ariel reaches down your throat and rips out your guts.
With all of this said, I still feel like my descriptive words still can’t explain how amazingly talented this band is and how fantastic this album was written. Orchestration, synthesizers, and drum samples mixed with raw, hard-hitting instruments played to their full potential, mixed with an unbelievable vocalist makes this band stand out. They found the perfect combination and deserve to blow up in the rock/alternative genre. Scripted“ has made it to my top 5 favorite albums of all time. Give them a listen. Trust me, you’ll be blown away.