Jamie McDermott led art-pop orchestra, The Irrepressibles, wowed both the art and music world with their 2010 début, Mirror, Mirror. An awe-inducing fusion of jaw-dropping imagery and innovative use of sound ensured that The Irrepressibles were one of the UK’s most exciting new acts. Amazingly, two years have flown past since the ten-member ensemble took their first steps to critical acclaim and global appreciation, and rather than allow fans to linger on their über-elegant début, The Irrepressibles launched new material on their Electro/Nude tour earlier this year. With fans in awe of their stage show, will their sophomore release, Nude, live up to both The Irrepressibles impressive live repertoire and astounding début?
The answer is a resounding, ‘YES and oh so so much more!’ Anyone who has seen either of the video releases that accompany the album to date, will be acutely aware that The Irrepressibles have not lost touch with their visual dominance. Haunting lead single, ‘New World’, is accompanied by a stark, moving visual feast, while album opener, the sweeping and statemented ‘Arrow’, sees models Theo Stacey and Jordan Hunt explore the fine line between love and war.
However, The Irrespressibles are so much more than an impressive balance between musical and visual exploration. Jamie McDermott is a striking vocalist. Though comparisons to the theatricality of Antony Hegarty, Patrick Wolf and Rufus Wainwright are inevitable, a collaboration with spine-tingling Lowlakes frontman, Thomas Snowdon, would be an interesting battle, for their emotionally wrought, spine tingling vocals echo one another implicitly.
Though Nude is an album that grips from the outset and continues to impress with each twist and turn, there are moments when the drama is almost too dizzying. The swirling ‘Tears’ is so overflowing with ingredients that the only tears induced are those of frustration. On ‘Ship’, McDermott channels his inner Tony Hadley for a euphoric, lust-filled, passion induced all-nighter, which initially startles but give the song a few listens and its incessant edge will win you over.
While lead single, ‘New World’, and the intrinsically beautiful mourning of ‘Pale Sweet Healing’ are distinct highlights of the album (also the most appealing in terms of crossover radio play), there is something so joyfully wonderful about McDermott in reflective, internalised mode. The sheer overwhelming power of ‘To Be’ and wistful wanting of album closer, ‘Two Men In Love’, leave a far deeper impression, and reveal a side to McDermott and The Irrepressibles that warrants further exploration.
Nude is an album that encompasses all human emotion and packs it tightly into a perfectly orchestrated 12-track album. If anyone thought The Irrepressibles might struggle to overcome their initial acclaim, Nude is explicit proof that there is still so much more to come from this exciting, enticing act.
Go Get It: ‘Pale Sweet Healing’ / ‘To Be’
Forget It: ‘Tears’