Two years ago, Icon for Hire exploded onto the rock-and-roll scene when the band’s debut album, Scripted, had Tooth & Nails’ highest-selling first week of any debut in the label’s history. Needless to say, fans have been eagerly awaiting their self-titled sophomore release.
At the core of this album is the track “Rock and Roll Thugs,” a very honest song that many Christians can relate to; it tells the story of a person growing up surrounded by the oppressive idea that rock ‘n’ roll music is evil. “You said the demons and drugs,” sings frontwoman Ariel Bloomer, “Hide in rock and roll thugs / If I want to grow up nice, I better give the music up.” Fighting this notion is really what drives the frustrated, sarcastic and often angry lyrics on the rest of the album.
The weirdly catchy rap-infused “Sugar and Spice” and heavily electronic “Pop Culture” each deal with fighting the expected stereotypes that we’re constantly bombarded with in every facet of our lives. In “Nerves,” Bloomer sings, “Oh, I hate your static pace / you ask no questions, let things be / All you people never learn and your heart gets on my nerves.”
Musically, the album is like the distant cousin of Scripted, which was filled with heavy rock ‘n’ roll laced with pop and electronic elements. This sophomore album very quickly goes into a different and interesting direction, drawing influences from pop and rap with a very strong dose of electronica. It takes some getting used to, but ultimately, it’s extremely entertaining.