Iris Doe - The End of Unknowing

Communicating Vessels

“Jeffrey Cain wears many hats: He’s a founding member of the iconic rock band Remy Zero, a writer and multi-instrumentalist for Australian psych legends The Church, and has his own debut solo project in the wings under the moniker Iris Doe.” – KCRW: Today’s Top Tune

All liminal spaces and spectral soundscapes, the six songs that make up the newest album from Jeffrey Cain— cryptically titled The End of Unknowing— stand as a glimpse into another realm of creation from an artist whose palette traverses both traditional songcraft as well as darker ambient territory well away from his more well-known alternative rock persona. Taking listeners on a soft-focus journey through droning plains, airy instrumental passages, reimagined DIY covers, and bleary-eyed stream of consciousness lyrics, there’s more than a few layers to peel back when listening through this sonic incantation for the soul. Which is no mean feat. Operating under the nom de plume of Iris Doe, and assisted by longtime collaborators Cedric LeMoyneJebin Bruni and Leslie Van Trease— along with the spirit of childhood friend/drummer Gregory Scott Slay and engineering whizzes Darrell Thorp and Brad Timko— this fluid fever dream of solo compositions wax and wane over a loose conceptual framework that invites both focused contemplation and mental release in equal measure. Fusing together elements of the gothic songwriting of Nick Cave and Fred Cole, with hints of Tangerine Dream and Brian Eno thrown in along the way, the album delicately balances moments of somber beauty and emotional turmoil in deep and unexpected ways. Add in the occasional bought of Frippertronics, field recordings, and aleatory devices that seem to bubble up out of the ether, the album is full of textures and tones and temporal shifts that engender new musical dialogues with every new track.

From the opening electro-invocation of “The Artist’s Love” and the shadowy crooning of lead single “Tears Ignite Again,” to the heartfelt take on the Dead Moon classic “A Miss of You,” and the nine-minute opus that is the album’s closing track, there’s a lot of sonic territory covered on this fascinating addition to Cain’s ever-expanding cosmos, both from within his own career with Remy Zero as well as his more recent work with Aussie stalwarts The Church. Cinematic in scope, meditative in feel, and unbound in assemblage, the whole affair comes off like a distant aural mirage and hymn to the unknown, just as the title suggests. And whether it’s through invisible trails or interior castles, there are tails being told by the music that may just surprise you.

Take a look around and see what lies inside.