Icon for Hire – ‘Now You Know’ EP Review

Alternative ensemble Icon for Hire originally arose when vocalist Ariel crossed paths with guitarist Shawn Jump in the city of Decatur back in 2007. Calling upon Jump’s friend Adam Kronshagen to handle drumming duties, the group soon hit the road to begin conquering the American live scene. Following a whole lot of fanbase building and the release of two EPs, the band signed with Tooth & Nail Records in 2010 and went to work on crafting their first full-length compilation.

Scripted – the eleven piece resultant record – is an electrifying assemblage of punk and alt-rock that may well be one of the most accomplished inaugural albums ever created. Bringing with it big success and a host of esteemed accolades, it even managed to make its way into the top ten on the US Billboard Hard Rock Chart.

After recruiting bassist Josh Kincheloe to join them for another era of tireless touring, the band burst back with a self-titled sequel in late 2013. Representing a shift towards a more electro-pop/rock style, the sophomore outing also has heavy hints of R’N’B and hip-hop. Their latest two track undertaking continues to transition in this direction.

Lead single, “Now You Know”, springs to life with vocals that initially resonate forcefully, yet softly, across the air. A defiant electronic beat soon erupts as the melody becomes fast and fierce. The disaffected lyrics are swelling with spirit as they revolt against the assumptions and expectations often applied to women in the music industry. Its unruly attitude and quirky characteristics are extremely enthralling, emulating the passion and charisma that made Icon for Hire’s material so appealing in the first place.

It all eventually arrives at an energetic and animated chorus, the delivery of which is smooth and stirring. The disorderly demeanour increases afterwards, exciting even further during the second stanza. Culminating in a heartfelt harmony, it’s a captivating combination of rock and R’N’B that’s wonderfully wayward.

Its companion, “Bam Bam Pop”, is even more exhilarating as it charges into a riveting rap whose stunning speed defies description. There’s a strong hip-hop flavour to the frantic verse as it sprints enthusiastically towards a keen chorus. The mind-bogglingly mesmerising melody is truly thrilling. It’s ideally suited for encouraging crowds to dance deliriously at live events.

The powerful electronic edge of the instrumentation cuts deep, carrying a consistently fractious feel which complements the lyrics and vocal tone perfectly. At the same time, its relentlessly rousing rhythm really gets the adrenaline pumping. This is a song that’s guaranteed to leave listeners absolutely energised afterwards.

While both of the above offerings have a stronger electro-pop/R’N’B flair than Icon for Hire’s earlier endeavours, they’re still rife with the punky personality that’s always been at the troupe’s core. These are two passionately played, irresistibly arresting anthems that will infiltrate your mind and refuse to be ejected. They should satisfy long-time fans of the band, while also winning them plenty of fresh followers. “Now You Know” is available on iTunes now, while limited edition hard copies can be purchased via Big Cartel.

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Icon For Hire - Now You Know
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Graduate of NUI Maynooth's Department of English, passionate writer of fiction and creative non-fiction alike. Mad about music, movies and books. If there's anything I enjoy more than listening, watching and reading, it's writing about what I listen to, watch and read! Check me out at davecsimpson.wordpress.com, find me on Twitter @davesimpson1 or drop me a line at dave@puremzine.com