The first time I was exposed to Icon For Hire was when they opened for Red and P.O.D. at a Baltimore show. I was left mesmerized by the sheer energy of their live performance… and frontwoman Ariel’s shocking pink hair and goth/punk getup, of course. (She even has her own fashion line, Custom Catastrophes, which you should definitely check out).

The head-turning trio are back with their self-titled second album which dropped a few days ago. The new album is exactly the extension of their old material that their fans, both old and new, need. It expands upon the same themes canvassed previously – brokenness, hopelessness, dealing with a cynical, judgmental and pretentious world – but somehow in a more mature and complex manner than before. Their sound has matured too, becoming more well-rounded and… “iconic”, if you will.

I really like that Icon For Hire took their trademark punky, angsty, anthem-like music to a whole new level. The material on this new record is heavier than before, employs a good range of electronic effects, and shows off a lot more of Ariel’s range as well as Adam and Shawn’s musical prowess. The band does a lot of journaling and they’re, like, really deep and stuff, so there’s a certain vulnerability and intimacy that comes with the music, which I think listeners will appreciate.

The song “Sugar and Spice” probably stood out the most for me. but I do think in general, after having seen them in the flesh, the audio experience definitely pales in comparison. I believe the full impact of the album will be felt once they actually perform it live. The energy and vibrancy of their performance just didn’t translate over as much through their album, so my advice: check out their music but don’t miss the opportunity to see them live as well.
You can thank me later.

Track Listing:

01. Cynics and Critics
02. Nerves
03. Sugar and Spice
04. Hope of Morning
05. Sorry About Your Parents
06. Pop Culture
07. Watch Me
08. Slow Down
09. Rock and Roll
10. Think I’m Sick
11. Fix Me
12. Counting On Hearts

Run Time: 42:53
Release Date: October 15, 2013

Check out the song “Cynics & Critics”