Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Icarus Line - Penance Soiree

Label: V2
Year: 2004

My vote for most underrated rock and roll record of 2004, or possibly the first decade of the century. Possibly it was overshadowed by their connection with Buddyhead's rabble rousing (the gossip section alone?), or maybe it was the live antics of guitarist Aaron North ("liberating Stevie Ray Vaughn's guitar from a glass commemorative case mid set?), or maybe it was the move from post-hardcore to post-Primal Scream that confused folks?
Don't really know. But I do know the band had a pretty raging hard-on for British rock music of the previous era, especially the druggy, arty, and confrontational strains, which shows. Imagine the Rough Trade catalog circa 1985-1997 shuffled, shifted, and spit back out by Spiritualized and the  aforementioned Primal Scream, then take those songs to a Hollywood studio and bake under a constant temperature of high ego...and high dudes.
Purposefully unhinged and running just shy of "off the rails", it takes legitimate talent to come this close to losing it...but keeping it. The requisite pomp and swagger are present and accounted for, and the prototypical "rock attitude" is front and center, where it should be. If you're gonna do it, fucking do it. Quit pussyfooting around.
After this record the band went all haywire, and founder/guitarist Aaron North split to play in Nine Inch Nails, then Jubilee, then whatever he is doing now. Don Devore, previously of Frail, Ink and Dagger, Rain On The Parade, and the like, went on to Souls She Said and then Amazing Baby, and I think he played on a later Icarus Line record as well...I think. Icarus Line is still out there, albeit in a new configuration, and with less "success" as shown on Penance Soiree.



Sally said...

Thanks for posting this. I agree, the first two Icarus Line albums are highly underrated. It's a shame that they devolved into nothing more than a Stooges cover band as of late.

Spin ran a great feature about Aaron North and his mental health struggles a few months ago. It's incredibly engrossing but also heartbreaking. Highly recommended read.

Anonymous said...

One of my faves from the 00s (together with the Magik Markers' Boss and other shit I can't remember right now), even if and especially when they rip off Spacement 3 and Loop in a couple of songs. Their second one (Black Lives at the Gold Coast) is great too, albeit a tad more atmospheric. Didn't care much for Wildlife, but Slave Vows, their latest, is not too shabby.

Martin said...

Great stuff - thanks for the link

Anonymous said...

the link is dead, could you fix it?

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