Icon For Hire

Capitol Christian Music Group , 2011

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


Hey, kids, it’s Daily Vault Story Time!

Once upon a time, there was a princess who lived in the faraway land of Decatur, Illinois.[1] This princess wanted to make music, so she found a talented knight whose vision fit with hers, and they formed a band called Icon For Hire. And it was good.

Eventually, however, the goblins came and offered them a record deal.[2] They took it, of course, thinking that dealing with goblins might be worth getting widespread acclaim. Unfortunately, there was not as much acclaim as they wanted – and the goblins had ideas about their music that they were not comfortable with. So the princess and the knight did a very brave thing; they got rid of the goblins and decided they were going to adventure on their own.

However, before they parted ways with the goblins, they crafted a little album called Scripted. And, frankly, the goblins missed the boat on this one.

Okay, enough story. While perhaps I’m being a bit twee, this is the basic story of Ariel Bloomer and Shawn Jump, better known as Icon For Hire. They left the comfort of a record deal, and also refused to be considered just a “Christian music act,” despite what the marketing people wanted. While there are elements of spirituality in their work, Icon decided pretty early that they were broader than that.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Broader is a good term, given their musical styles. Ariel Bloomer is as likely to break into rap as sing. They successfully fuse styles as disparate as hard rock, hip-hop, rap, electronica, and straight balladeering in something that, despite attempts to cubbyhole them into either a “chick band” or a “Jesus band,” is refreshingly different. Perhaps it’s the raw candor that Bloomer achieves at times; she’s straightforward about her battles with mental illness, sexism in the music industry[3], and doubt and faith.

Frankly, there isn’t a bad track on Scripted, and some of them achieve greatness: “Make A Move” with its driving plea, “The Grey” with its meditations on faith and failing one’s own spiritual path, and “Fight,” which as far as I’m concerned, if it doesn’t pump you up, you’re dead or something. My favorite, after much meditation, is the twin killing of “Off With Her Head” and “Up In Flames;” both speak to me about self-destruction and how to walk the thin line that staves it off.

Icon For Hire is pretty damn talented, and even if it was born from a studio somewhere in the Goblin City, Scripted is an excellent album. Check it out.

[1] Shout out to D-town. My grandparents lived there when I was growing up, and I lived there for a few years in the late eighties and early nineties. It’s a nice little town that gets a bad rap; people in Champaign and Springfield make unfair fun of it. Now, Peoria, that’s a scary place...

[2] Yes, record label A&R personnel are goblins. Deal with it.

[3] Why, in the 21st century, are we still dealing with this shit? Sexist pigs in the music industry should be beaten up by the ghost of Big Mama Thornton.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2020 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Capitol Christian Music Group , and is used for informational purposes only.