Doom haunters Iress enrapture with dark transmissions about change on arresting EP ‘Solace’

Photo by Tara Jane

Nothing lasts forever, though many of us lie to ourselves and bargain with whatever forces we can to try to maintain status quo as long as we can. But that’s not reality. The world changes, people move on to other things, and even worse, those who we love and hold dear sometimes leave for whatever plane of existence is next. Or sometimes people’s hearts change, leading to life upheaval.

For dreamy LA-based doom quartet Iress, they have faced a lot of the tumult we have, including a global pandemic you may have heard about. Undeterred, the band has returned with a new four-track EP “Solace” that starts the bridge a gap from excellent last full-length album “Flaw” to whatever comes next. But that’s getting ahead of ourselves, and we shouldn’t do that because this is a mesmerizing, emotionally arresting piece that contains some of Iress’ finest work. The band—vocalist Michelle Malley, guitarist Graham Walker, bassist Michael Maldonado, drummer Glenn Chu—examine that phenomenon of change and the hurt and beauty often threaded into that. It’s not always easy to approach life taking a twist or turn we don’t anticipate, but what matters is how we react and go on with our lives.

“Blush” starts in a numbing buzz before the doom clouds begin to gather, giving off a vibe reminiscent of King Woman. Malley’s breathy vocals wash over you as the emotions collect, and the music builds off that, gushing and vibrating. “I don’t mind, take your time leaving,” Malley calls as the power fades into the distance. “Vanish” is murky and foggy, Malley asking, “Where do you run to?” The playing moves quietly as it slowly drips, the guitars eventually bursting, the drums more aggressively joining the fray, jarring before ending abruptly. “Ricochet” has heaviness pulsing and Malley again leading with her dominant singing, flexing her skills. The verses bleed while the choruses crush, delivering a massive wave with Malley jabbing, “Thought that I knew you,” as the guitars gain heat and melt away the tension. Closer “Soft” begins ominously, moving through the shadows, Malley admitting, “You and I, we’re not made to last.” Guitars create a greater fog, moving through the mist, Malley calling, “I’m not ready,” as the pieces crumble away into dust.

These four songs are some of Iress’ most haunting work, and “Solace” might be a shorter release, but it comes with no shortage of power and vulnerability. These songs work into your emotional DNA and identify with all of the darkest elements of your experiences, acting as something of a comfort when weary. It’s an exciting glimpse of perhaps where the band is headed, and we wait with bated breath for another full-length from this evocative band.

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