Review: Iration – Hotting Up

Review: Iration – Hotting Up

Iration – Hotting Up
Hotting UpTrack Listing:
1.) Reelin
2.) Stay Awake
3.) Lost and Found
4.) Midnight
5.) Hotting Up
6.) Nothing At All
7.) 867
8.) Guns Out
9.) You Know You Don’t Mind

The Pier Album Rating:

Release Date: August 28th, 2015
Official Website: Iration Website

Artist Background:
Since forming in 2004, Santa Barbara based reggae-rockers Iration have become one of the most popular bands in the genre. Spring-boarding from the success of 2010’s Time Bomb, Iration has released one album entitled Automatic, before this latest release of Hotting Up. Having enlisted the help of acclaimed hip-hop producer King David “The Future” and new guitarist Micah Brown, the band hopes to have made their best record to date.

Album Review:
Every Iration album to date has sounded different than the last, and Hotting Up is no exception. While Time Bomb had a simple poppy likeability and Automatic featured more heartfelt lyricism, Hotting Up’s claim to fame lies in its production value, which the band invested in heavily over the course of this album. Fans will notice a new sound from the band, but one that’s within arm’s reach of their previous work.

The album kicks off as advertised with “Reelin,” a hard-hitting, bass thumping rock tune with undeniable hit single potential. Combining all the best elements of Rock and Hip-Hop – rocking guitars, strong vocals, and hard-hitting drums – “Reelin” is arguably the strongest release of the summer. First impressions are extremely important, and this song not only gives us the best possible introduction to producer King David, but to Hotting Up as a whole.

From this point, the band strays from prioritizing hard-hitting production values to shine the spotlight on lyricism. The Micah Brown influenced “Stay Awake” introduces us to a new, more haunting lyrical style from the band while “Lost and Found” is a more familiar and mellow ode to youth enhanced by the sliding guitar and ukulele sounds present on the track.

Like a race, the middle portion of this album comes to a less enthusiastic stretch with “Midnight” and “Nothing At All” before finishing strong. Neither song is bad, but both are safe, upbeat tunes that lack the standout X factor that made a song like “Reelin” special. The titular track “Hotting Up” initially appears to have that magic, but I found the chorus to be a bit underwhelming compared to the strength of the instrumentals.

On the flip side “867” has an overwhelming amount of bells and whistles in its production. While it is the most unique sounding, I found this song to be the weakest of the album due to its messy/distorted synth sound and simple lyrics.

From here, the album ends on a high note with the album’s sleeper hit, and my favorite of the record, “Guns Out” and the simple but loveable “You Know You Don’t Mind.”

Hotting Up does a good job of combining all the best elements of Iration’s previous releases and improving upon them. However, one criticism of this album that I share with several of our readers is that many of these songs seem to lack the lyrical depth that was present in previous records like Automatic. Despite that flaw, I think this is a much better album than Automatic, and easily one of the band’s top two releases. Hotting Up solidifies King David The Future as a respectable producer in this genre, and the addition of Micah Brown to the band has only improved the already strong Iration lineup. Although short, this album contains an eclectic mix of sounds that should satisfy the musical tastes of old and new Iration fans alike.

Written & Reviewed By: Andrew Aroche

[Editors Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, NOT the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself & form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art & contribution]

Listen: Iration – “Hotting Up”