Illuminati Hotties – ‘Free I.H.: This is Not The One You’ve Been Waiting For’ review: red-hot sonic riposte to industry bullshit

After a messy legal battle, Illuminati Hotties new mixtape is a snarling, fantastic triumph

Illuminati Hotties snarling, world-weary new mixtape ‘Free I.H.’ could have been written in response to numerous shit things that have happened in the last few years. But the spark for this collection was well and truly lit when their record label Tiny Engines were accused of breaching contracts with a bunch of artists. Long legal story short, IH’s Sarah Tudzin had to buy her way out of her own record deal in order to release the second Illuminati Hotties album.

And while that record will be released in the near future, ‘This Is Not The One You’ve Been Waiting For’ is a furious mixtape that deals with the turbulence of success, uncertainty, fear, loathing and the desire to break free. ‘Free I.H.’ is red-hot sonic revenge.

“Leaked” a few weeks ago under the name Occult Classic via a link shared by Pup, Lucy Dacus and Speedy Ortiz’ Sadie Dupuis, the mixtape is a throwback to a time when discovering music via MySpace was a joyful adventure, rather than the algorithm-based battleground of today. ‘Free I.H.’ comes with text-talk titles, samples of someone eating cereal, a shout out to their own website and palpable excitement where anything feels possible.

It’s a freewheeling blast of scrappy guitars, odd turns and joyful experimentation. ‘free ppls’ is a fiery blast of anarchy, while ‘freequent letdown’ is a sugar-dipped anthem of disappointment. “I’m always letting everyone down,” sings Tudzin with a skip in her step before the surf destruction of ‘Melatonezone’ see Fidlar meet Weezer at a beach bar.

The opening ‘will I get cancelled if I write a song called ‘if you were a man you’d be so cancelled’’ is a stuttering burst of spite, while the atmospheric beauty of ‘free dumb’ sees Tudzin baring her teeth and putting her old label on blast singing, “While the world burns, how could you care about a fucking record? There was no love lost until you deemed that I was unessential.”

Bounding between the psychedelic haze of ‘content//bedtime’, the industrial breakdown of ‘free4all’, and the serenity of acoustic closer ‘reasons 2 live’, ‘Free I.H.’ is a wild ride of cathartic outpourings, big declarations and the freedom to do whatever they want. Weighed down by the struggle but relishing their victory, it’s a record that offers conflict and comfort.


  • Release date: July 17
  • Record label: Big Scary Monsters