Release Date: Feb 17, 2009
Record label: Narnack
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
It’s tempting to say that the sublime heights of Iran’s third album, Dissolver, were achieved thanks to an increased studio budget, a big indie producer (Dave Sitek) and a bigger label (the result of one of its members, Kyp Malone, achieving indie-rock semi-stardom with his other band, TV on the Radio). But Dissolver is where the band was slowly but surely heading all along. It’s a great album that finds the band moving away from the “Hey, what can we do with this four-track?” vibe of their self-titled debut and their sophomore album, Moon Boys, into a fully fleshed-out noise-pop juggernaut.
Nearly six years passed between Aaron Aites' second noise pop opus as Iran, The Moon Boys, and Dissolver, during which time guitarist Kyp Malone became a member of one of the most acclaimed bands of the 2000s, TV on the Radio. Maybe that's why Dissolver strips away most of the confrontational side of Iran's music in favor of the pop that was underneath the noise all along (it's almost certainly why Malone's TVOTR bandmate David Sitek produced this album). Iran fans who were more attached to the surface chaos of the band's first two albums might be initially disappointed by how this album seems to lack that bite -- only "Digital Clock and Phone"'s electronics and guitar freakout hint at Iran's noise-laden past.
Well I’ll be darned. For years, locating an Iran record was about as likely as spotting a one-legged wombat on the Interstate. Precious little was known about the band and its members even before their first two releases, Iran (2000) and The Moon Boys (2003), went out of print and all but vanished from the earth, and in 2007 they could have been in Tahiti, or dead, or Richard D.
It shouldn’t come as a real surprise that Dissolver, Iran’s third album and first in six years, fully fleshes out the pop instincts that Aaron Aites’ first two albums obscured. Six years is a long time, people change, and excepting a few brief excursions into noise and feedback, Dissolver sounds like an album made by folks who are mostly sick of challenging convention and just want to swim in something that reminds them of why they love rock music. On this basic level, the album makes sense.
Conceived more than a decade ago as the noise-pop project of Aaron Aites, the difference between Iran's 2003 opus, The Moon Boys – the first to feature TV on the Radio guitarist Kyp Malone – and third LP Dissolver is comparable to the quantum leap from Beck's Mellow Gold to Odeley. The latter reins in and polishes lo-fi eccentricities on the former into a more coherent and easily enjoyable collage of alternative rock, and for the most part, it works. Produced by TVOTR's Dave Sitek, Dissolver relies heavily on Malone's contributions, from the bombastic buildup of standout opener "I Can See the Future" to "Buddy," which marries shoegazed 1960s pop with his glacial-tremolo guitar.