Much of modern life is wrapped up in identity. Am I the best person I can be? What defines me from someone else? Do I actually deserve everything I have? When the idea of imposter syndrome becomes more prevalent in society, and discussions around mental health become more open, there seems to be an even greater need to find out who we are.
IDER’s debut album, ‘Emotional Education’, is wholly concerned with this interior struggle. Comprised of Megan Markwick and Lily Somerville, IDER have made a trade in honest and often cutting tracks that bristle with energy. From body issues to trying to rediscover yourself after devoting yourself so completely to someone else, the London duo are not afraid to go deep.
'You’ve Got Your Whole Life Ahead Of You Baby' is the most evident of this, with the duo trying to understand why your twenties feel so terrifying. Here they understand that self-reflection is often self-destruction; constantly worrying yourself by questioning why you did this instead of that, or trying to figure out just what the future will hold. It brings no answers, because it is, of course, a personal journey, but there’s an element of encouragement that someone else understands this feeling of malaise.
'Busy Being A Rockstar', meanwhile, is heartbreaking in its honesty. Over a bouncing beat, with the occasional blast of brass, IDER tackle the effect of absent parents on their path in life. Lines like “everybody tells me that I’m killing it / such a shame you’re missing it” are followed by increased frustration as the wound is torn open. It’s impressively candid and a sign of just how powerful they can be when they dig into an issue and not worry about making sure everyone can relate to it.
'Saddest Generation' unfortunately seems to fall into that groove. With it, IDER try to take something deeply personal and apply it to the wider issue of mental health, an incredibly nuanced world. It’s a situation so specific and intensely intimate that opening these experiences out feels jarring, not landing nearly as well as it could.
Musically, minimal beats that slowly become layered with jagged guitars and synths, leading to a euphoric chorus, is the order of the day across the record. Each song’s structure can sometimes feel predictable, but it’s often done with intent so as not to distract too much from the message and the duo’s greatest strength; their voice.
IDER’s vocal power never fails to impress. Rarely do they sing without the other in tow, becoming one voice and an instrument in its own right. Even if a song is distinctly personal to one, they both tackle it with the same emotion and energy. A strong belief that a load shared is a load halved. It’s a testament to the bond between Markwick and Somerville. This isn’t just chemistry for chemistry’s sake; this is two people who always have each other’s backs.
'Emotional Education' is something of a middle finger to those that think these worries of who we are are just millennial whinings. It’s not hard to feel like you’re drifting on a sea of anxieties by yourself when you’re constantly being told by tabloids and the previous generation that what you feel isn’t real.
But, here, IDER dispel the idea that these are idle concerns, that they are instead real and justified, but also that you’re not the only one experiencing it. From 'Mirror' to 'You’ve Got Your Whole Life Ahead Of You Baby', the record offers no quick fixes, simply reassurance. And sometimes that’s all you need.