The concept behind Emotional Education from IDER isn’t anything new, there are a dozen albums from each time period that explore the coming of age story and the struggles that it presents. However, what makes Emotional Education successful is it’s relatability, rawness and musicianship.
IDER, a duo who met a Falmouth University, have managed to channel their experiences into a body of work that works. They’ve dressed it up in a concoction of pop and moody R&B, which at face value seems pedestrian.
Any doubts or pre-conceptions about Emotional Education are immediately thrown out the window as “Mirror” begins; a heart-rending and unfortunately true anecdote of the scrutiny we go through in the modern age, especially during our most formative years.
Once “Mirror” ends with an emotional thump, “Wu Baby” picks up the shattered pieces and glues them back together with exuberant confidence. During the chorus, the confidence bubbles over the cauldron of realness the duo serve.
The song itself is an excellent example of pop music done right, with its sublime instrumental, strong song writing and exquisite vocals. The verses are contemplative and somewhat tense, with the bridge, which itself is fantastic, leading to one of the best choruses I’ve heard in quite some time.
The highs continue with “Busy Being A Rockstar”, which itself is a vibrant anthem that highlights the duo’s versatility. “Brown Sugar” follows, being an arrow to the heart, thanks to its engulfing, luscious beat that holds you tight. As the instrumental thunders on, the femme fatale’s croon and deliver buttery smooth vocals. It simply oozes intimacy and sensuality.
IDER continue to knock it out of the park with adolescent anthems like “Clinging To The Weekend”, which is an explorative and vulnerable number about relationships, backboned by symbiotic musicality and vocal prowess.
If there’s one thing that IDER demonstrate throughout Emotional Education, it’s their understanding of how to construct and execute songs. Even the songs that aren’t as apparent on first listen possess elements of star-bound songwriters.
It’s as if they’ve combed through each song with a fine-tooth comb in order to make a complete package. “Body Love” is a great example of this, because at face value it isn’t immediate and dare I say, at it seems drowned out by the tracks that surround it. But if you listen closely, from its soft introduction and slow-burning nature, the song gradually gathers steam.
Lyrically it’s relatable and because of that, it draws you in with its emotion. The words they sing have an impact, drawing you closer to their story, which builds and builds. And then it erupts into a musical cascade of what feels like an emotional tap bursting into a R&B fountain of goodness comprised of rich vocals, twinkling keys and powerful melodies.
The vibe continues with “Saddest Generation”, which compared to “Body Love” has more bite and feistiness while carrying the same emotional weight.
What happens after “Saddest Generation” is special as IDER go full-circle. They begin the musical journey with vulnerability and honesty, and they close it in the same way. “Slide” is full of raw beauty with its glistening instrumental that features anthemic, foreboding drums and trickling synths.
Once again, IDER deliver a chorus that is pure bliss and one which embodies Emotional Education as a whole. As the track ends abruptly after a choir of vocals and flurrying instruments, there’s a moment to reflect on an album that delivers an experience that only comes around every so often.
It’s fair to say that Emotional Education is a great album, one full of heart, soul and beauty. While it may not resonate with everyone, it’ll certainly strike a chord with those that relate. Even those who can’t, won’t be able to deny that IDER have created a sincere and genuinely special debut that demonstrates a duo who are only just beginning.
IDER’s Emotional Education is out now on Glassnote, purchase it on iTunes here.
Words by Jake Gould