Saturday, July 18, 2015
The Icarus Line - Black Lives At The Gold Coast
Label: Dim Mak
The follow-up album to the criminally underrated predecessor 'Penace Soiree' which was posted here, but is most likely not there any longer. It marked the first Icarus Line record after Aaron North left the band to play with Nine Inch Nails (then Jubilee, then a real unfortunate downward spiral which I am hoping he has, or is, pulling out of, since he's super talented and creative it would be such a shame to waste away), so the primary songwriting goes to Joe Cardamone (also of Souls She Said) this time around. And while the signature anglophile signposts are still being followed, and the previously explored appreciation for Detroit circa 1970 is still evident, this record softens the edges a bit and opens up to more atmosphere and light. The venomous egos are in check, and some of the swagger has left the group, as if they had proved what they needed to prove on the earlier records and were now content to explore a slightly more accessible feel. Not that it's a pussy record by a log shot. There's still plenty of vigor and attack in most of the tracks, and they still play it loose and noisy which adds a "danger" factor to the whole affair.
The Icarus Line are unapologetic disciples of J Spaceman and Bobby Gillespie, and hey, nothing wrong with that, but if you listen up you'll hear shades of Rick Froberg's guitar style, shades of J Mascis' hazily cracking drawl, or some of the dark psych rock of The Warlocks (also direct descendants of Spacemen 3) filling in the gaps. It may not be as immediate a payoff as 'Penance Soiree' was (is), but this record stands up right next to it's brother and forges another corrosive scrawl across a formidable discography. It's insane that they haven't "made it" (whatever that would mean these days), because for group this talented, this visionary, this reverential to the bedrocks of rock-n-roll, and this ballsy, success should be in their clenched fists.
Drummer Jeff Watson went from this record straight into recording another lost classic, Black Elk's 'Always A Six, Never A Nine'. Trivia for you.
Don Devore of Frail, Mandela, Ink and Dagger, Souls She Said, and a million other bands, appears for the last time in The Icarus Line on this record. Trivia for you.
This album (or possibly the Klaxons record that came out the same year) marks the last time Dim Mak messed around with rock music, and shifted to an all EDM (if that's what it's called) catalog. Trivia for you.