iTCH – The Deep End
If Rousseau had published The Social Contract as a limerick, it would have probably had a similar affect to this album.
On debut album The Deep End, iTCH has employed musical tropes of such cliched insincerity that it’s difficult to believe anything he says. Described as ‘a hybrid of hip-hop, punk, pop, electro and rock’, it seems that Skrillex and Professor Green’s song ‘Read All About It‘ have been the album’s main inspirations. iTCH has taken these musical forms and rammed in some of the most tired and ambiguous revolutionary phrases to make an album that is a mess, both sonically and politically.
Indeed, iTCH resorts to transubstantiation on ‘Children of the Revolution’ in order to prove he still has remnants of political angst and fire. Apparently, he is ‘the quiver in the voice of Martin Luther’, and ‘the venom in Johnny Rotten’s spit’, ‘the love in the air at the warehouse rave’. iTCH’s music sounds dated, not only for its lyrical reference points, but also because it sounds like the flurry of artists that attempted to imitate Leona Lewis’ music following her X-Factor win in 2006.
iTCH’s choice of guest spots immediately dates the album further. Taking Back Sunday‘s Adam Lazarra features on the woefully named ‘Homeless Romantic’, while Less Than Jake’s Roger Manganelli sings on ‘Bottom of the Glass’. It is not enough to dredge up artists that once incited passion and anger well over a decade ago. The call to arms, or the statement of intent, needs to be current, pressing, immediate. It should be a running jump in to a dive bomb that echoes around the cavernous swimming pool and splashes onlookers. The Deep End just climbs down the steps, winces at the temperature a bit, and settles on breaststroke for a few lengths.
It’s dull, to the point of being abrasive at times. This is the man that wrote and fronted The King Blues‘ bizarrely charming and critically acclaimed career, where love and dissent and a ukulele and his jarring vocal delivery came together rather well. There is none of that here. If Karl Marx and Jordin Sparks had the possibility of collaboration, it might have sounded like this album. Obviously iTCH isn’t a great revolutionary, but I’ve always believed he had something to say. Whatever it is, it’s lost here.