DPR Ian: Moodswings in This Order (MITO)
MITO epitomizes everything Christian Yu's (a.k.a. DPR Ian) Dream Perfect Regime is: dark, creative, unflinching. Utterly fascinating. DPR's entire M.O. seems to follow the Stanley Kubrick rule: Make it true; make it interesting. Damn do they ever. Standing at the helm, and never one to ask of his team something he himself wouldn't do, DPR Ian brings his debut solo work, Moodswings in This Order.
Lyrically beautiful. Musically, it's bold, but not overwhelmingly interesting. Ian's voice is well-suited for the emotion he exerts, a tone devoid of melisma and vibrato that infuses the lyrics and the simple compositions with enough emotion to carry them when the composition falls short.
Which isn't even to say that the composition isn't powerful in parts, but that's sort of the issue (and possibly the point). The music is boisterous and more often than not drowns Ian's voice out. He doesn't enunciate most of his lyrics, muddying the words. As if Ian's hiding within the mud to avoid listeners understanding his melancholy upon first, second, even third listen. Forcing them to seek out lyrics which become mush in his mouth and music that overexerts itself.
That being said, I don't believe this is done unintentionally. Though it might rankle, the fact remains that the lyrics carry a heaviness that piled on top of heavier music and earnestly emotional vocals create an oversensory experience that engages listeners, repels them, then brings them back in for more. They must come back for more, because despite Ian's best attempts, the depth of his words and the pain that suffuses them isn't that well hidden. Which makes this a fascinating album to try to dissect if not for the ways in which Ian seems to attempt to keep you from doing so. It's heartbreaking. Even in times when he speaks of the bubbly, cloying sweetness of love ("No Blueberries"), there's an undercurrent of something dark and broken. A man yearning for a taste of it. Despite what he music itself tries to suggest, there's nothing bold, confident or powerful in the album's protagonist at all. The constant contradiction of what the album is and what it pretends to be is just... As I said before, utterly fascinating.