Washington-based artist IHF delivers debut album Precious Cargo, offering the world snippets of much-needed positivity wrapped up in a masterful amalgamation of electronic, indie and downtempo soundscapes, accentuated by his soft vocal quality. Stocked full of melodic musicality and pleasant energy, the album which opens with the soft-synth stylings of “Scars,” instantly allowing warmth to overtake the senses. Moving seamlessly from one atmospheric offering to another, soaring cuts of electronic, folksy captivate listeners on tracks like jumpy, booming “Don’t Forget My Love,” and anthemic “All You Need.”
The album establishes IHF’s versatility early on taking a journey from the jangly instrumentals of “ It Wasn’t Enough,” to the glitchy, slow-build sonics of “Waiting,” and the dreamy, feel-good framing of stand-out track “In My Skin.” Angelic, emotive vocals based on a foundation of poetic lyricism, this project is an artistic leap forward for the rising talent who impressively and ambitiously blends genres and moods to offer a body of work that weaves through stories of love and fondness.
The album begins to feel too long, without much to say towards its tail end. Tracks like the too slow “Portrait,” and “See You Again,”with its repetitive chorus, offer electronic cuts that are catchy, but not quite urging more than one listen. It feels like something that’s already been heard in the first half of the album, thus adding a little too less to the otherwise invigorating sonic journey that Precious Cargo is.
It recovers spectacularly on penultimate track and album highlight “Rhea,” a soothing ballad elevated with ethereal choir-inspired backing vocals, before final track “Nothing Else Matters,” brings the album to a satisfying close with the light touch of synths enveloped in the hazy quality of IHF’s voice. "To me, ‘Precious Cargo’ means finding that (sometimes inexplicable) quality in a person, a piece of art, or in yourself that leads to love and fondness," he says. "I wanted to create an album that diverged from anything I had ever done, and it ended up defining a leap forward for me personally.”
With a meteoric rise to stardom starting with his debut EP in 2014, IHF has proven himself to be a breath of fresh air who appears to be going from strength to strength with each release. On Precious Cargo, he delivers a collection of 10 songs imbued with positive impact that comforts and offers something to vibe at the best. This delicate combination of genres underlined by organic production and emotive artistry, make for a fascinating journey which marks IHF as an artist to watch.