Nearly half a century since his first of many major label releases, Iggy Pop has reemerged yet again. His most recent album, recorded in secret among the high deserts of California, is titled Post Pop Depression. This record provides a strikingly standout listening from past releases, due in part to its casual aural palate. While some unexpected twists are injected into more familiar pop-rock leanings the overall result represents a, dare I say, respectable maturity for the pushing 69-year-old iconic punk rocker.
Yet, as Iggy’s storied history reflects throughout the years, collaboration is key. This record benefits in a departure from the often-thrashy guitar driven tracks of past albums by utilizing musicians who reflect and complement Iggy’s more artful aesthetics. Backing musicians and co-conspirators Josh Homme and Dean Fertita (Queens of the Stone Age) and drummer Matt Helders (Arctic Monkeys) composed pop grooves coupled with accessibly dark stylings for Iggy to lay his operatic vibrato-laced vocals over. The provided auditory soundscape is lush with reverb-soaked lead guitars and fuzzed out bass lines laid over relatively sparse drum patterns. And while synthesizers take foreground in the opening measures of “American Valhalla”, trace elements can be spied deeper in the mixes of several other songs such as “Break Into Your Heart” and the album’s single “Gardenia” (offering to those listeners seeking a nostalgic reconnection to sensibilities found on his earlier solo records a place to find solace).
The album does, however, most noticeably switch gears at the tail end of “Sunday”. The six-minute grooving track eventually slips into full orchestration with the beautifully rendered (yet, let’s face it, mixtape-killing) minute-and-a-half long string outro. The album takes another immediate zigzag with the following track, “Vulture”. Channeling visions of a Sergio Leone spaghetti western soundtrack (yet perhaps more accurately inspired by the musicians actual surroundings during the recording process) “Vulture” is by far the most dynamically outstanding addition to the record. On the other hand, the albums shiniest gem’s come in the form of deeper tracks “In The Lobby” and “German Days”, followed closely by the playfully titled “Chocolate Drops”. These tracks best encapsulate the album’s overall attitude and feel both as a cumulative effort and as stand-alone tracks. Additionally, these tracks spotlight each performers individual contribution in perfect harmony resulting in a truly unique and wonderfully cohesive sound.