SINGLE REVIEW: iamamiwhoami’s “Hunting for Pearls”

Everyone's favorite avant-garde pop weirdo is at it again, and with the recent videos taking on a more aquatic vibe, the music, thankfully, remains as top-quality as ever.

iamamiwhoami has had a stellar couple of years. Since Jonna Lee and Robin Kempe-Bergman’s audio-visual project began back in 2010, they have been creating unique visual and sonic landscapes for us to explore, with the rather suggestive video for “y” even garnering north of 15 million views on YouTube. Finally getting around to playing concerts, 2012’s kin proved to be one of the year’s best albums, and all of the project’s earlier work was housed in last year’s compilation album bounty. In a very short time, iamamiwhoami has created one of the most forward-thinking discographies in recent memory, giving us thrills we haven’t had since Björk was in her prime.

Now, after a decently long hiatus of putting out new music, iamamiwhoami is back.

It all started with January’s out-of-nowhere release of the song “Fountain, which very much continued on in the same vein as kin‘s best moments, but with a little bit of uplift to the songs, the melodies shining a bit brighter, while that keyboard hook proved undeniable. Not too long ago, we were treated to the release of iamamiwhoami’s new still-untitled project (although Generate appears to be a safe bet) in the form of “Hunting for Pearls”, and boy howdy does it accomplish what it sets out to do.

Featuring a very propulsive beat that sounds like the soundtrack to an ’80s action film, “Hunting for Pearls” features the perfect amount of crystal-echo chords in the chorus to land its impact, all while Lee sings about hunting for pearls all along the ocean floor. The song interestingly goes in and out of a first- and third-person perspective in the lyrics, but some of the interpretive nature of the lyrics can (maybe?) be highlighted by the video.

The recurring image of iamamiwhoami’s work has been a solid black cube, one that, in her rare interview she gave to PopMatters, actually made for the cover of the kin album. In “Fountain”, the cube had become clear and filled with fish & water, both videos thus far showing a very deliberate aquatic theme.

With “Hunting for Pearls”, Lee can be see running from mysterious creatures dressed in all-black, the black cube from before in her possession, water once again seeming to be her escape, as she then later emerges in an arctic environment. OK, maybe the video isn’t helping clear things up after all.

Still, “Pearls” is a great song although “Fountain” definitely came off with the stronger hook. Regardless, the batting average for iamamiwhoami remains positively stunning, and before long, we will see what this will lead up to. For now though, we’re enjoying the hell out of the journey.