Review of Post Pop Depression Album by Iggy Pop

Don't let the title fool you. Post Pop Depression is presented very deliberately as an Iggy Pop record, but, like the famous albums he made in Berlin with David Bowie, this is very much a collaborative effort and is all the stronger for it. 

Iggy Pop Post Pop Depression Album

With Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme on production and guitar duties, his QOTSA bandmate Dean Fertita on bass, and Arctic Monkeys' Matt Helders on drums, this isn't quite an exhibition supergroup in the mould of Them Crooked Vultures, but rather a collection of accomplished musicians who have created a nuanced record, by turns brooding and buoyant, which bears the hallmarks of its creators.

It was Homme who Pop approached to bring the album into existence, and his fingerprints in particular are all over this record from the get go. The creeping minor-key guitar riffs of brilliant opener 'Break Into Your Heart' bring to mind Lullabies to Paralyze-era QOTSA, and 'American Valhalla' opens with tinkling toy piano which gives way to a lurching bass riff in a manner vividly reminiscent of 'Tangled Up in Plaid'. In this context, even Pop's baritone growl doesn't sound a million miles away from that of longtime Queens collaborator Mark Lanegan.

While Homme's trademarks crop up throughout the album, Iggy is much more than a figurehead here, and his body of work echoes through these songs. Homme has described Post Pop Depression as continuing on the path carved out by Pop's iconic first solo records, The Idiot and Lust for Life, and despite the title, the joie de vivre of those albums infuses this one. Dean Fertita's bouncy basslines pep up playful lead track 'Gardenia', and the bottom end throughout this album recalls the busy work of Tony Sales on Pop's early solo material. And though he may be 68, there's nothing geriatric about Iggy's lyrics - sneering on 'American Valhalla' that "it's all about the sex" - or his voice, which he extends to some pretty impressive acrobatics on 'Vulture'. 

However, this record also reflects the depth which has characterized Iggy's career, and which has often been overlooked thanks to the cartoonish, stagedive-inventing 'Godfather of Punk' image which has been stuck to him for so long. For the latter designation to linger so strongly seems strange in the light of Pop's post-Stooges career, and the recent passing of David Bowie - so influential in shaping Iggy's solo work - makes it even more fitting that this album should pick up on the golden threads of that early Berlin period. When Pop speaks of a time, on 'Chocolate Drops', when "every day's like judgement day," it evokes a sense, if not of impending doom, certainly of finality. 

Indeed, Iggy's said that this could be his last record, and it would be a fine send-off: having jumped in with both feet, what we're left with is the sound of a legendary artist still giving his all.

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