Friday, June 23, 2017

FDF Volume 4 Issue 370 - The Icicle Works

Album – Icicle Works
Artist – Icicle Works
Key Players – Ian McNabb -lead vocals, guitar and keyboards.  Chris Layhe – bass and backing vocals
Chris Sharrock – drums.
Produced By – Hugh Jones

Release Date – March 23, 1984

Overview – This was the debut record from Icicle Works.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – The 10 track 42 minute album had various versions.  Even the cover between the US and UK was different.  Reviewed here is the US version.  "Chop the Tree” opens up the album and you have those electronic drum rolls before the bass and guitar join.  McNabb is in fine voice and doubles the harmonies on the chorus. "Love Is a Wonderful Colour" and "Reaping the Rich Harvest" continue the album.  There is bits of the “same” but by the same token each track so far feels fresh.  There is a heavy emphasis on the bass and drum and there are no “guitar solos”.  I struggled to hear much in the mix for backing vocal support, but the tracks have a good pop feel to them.”Reaping” has a bit more of the bass as the focal point, and with some heavy chorus effect on the bass line, it really rings. "As the Dragonfly Flies" has a more keyboard than previous tracks and it also hums along as the quickest track to this point.  The chorus has some nice layers vocally and the frantic drum tempo really is showcased. "Lovers' Day" starts with a flute of some sort and slow progression in to the track.  McNabb sings much of the first verse with just a few guitar strums and keyboard fills it swells but simmers back to the melloncholly intro. "In the Cauldron of Love" finds McNabb shredding his vocals on the chorus with a darker track that seems to rumble forth like a freight train. "Out of Season" uses some looped keyboards before a shimmery guitar plays and McNabb is a little more laid back, but still of full voice.  From laid back to frantic we then get "A Factory in the Desert".  The tempo is up, the guitar ring out, the drums hit a real hidden gem on the record.  We then reach the track 99% of people would know as being Icicle Works and that is “Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream)”.  This is the song that got me to buy the record.  Gone from this version is the female spoken section over the start (which seems to crop up on radio) but the song just stands alone, it really is a terrific track.  Need a refresher?  The Video!  The record ends with the longest track “Nirvana” which is just over 5 minutes long.  The trio has done a lot to make a lot of great noise.  The record has something for everyone, especially at the time not sure why they didn’t take off more in the US.  The rumbling bass and drums and frantic guitar strums suck you in and shake you for the duration.  A solid album closer.

Where are they Now? The band was active from 1980-1991 and according to Wikipedia have been active again since 2006.  In reading the bands Wikipedia page they seemed busy until 2011, but little has been posted since.  Chris Sharrock played with bands from The La’s to Robbie Williams and was last involved with “Beady Eye” which was a Liam Gallagher project.  Layhe has a quiet Wiki page with information only as late as 2009 that he was back playing bass in a project called “Shadow History”.

FDF Overall Take/Was it worth Dusting off? – I will be the first to admit I knew nothing outside of “Whisper to a Scream” even back when this band was making new records.  For a long time this record was pretty hard to find even, and during my heavily “alternative music days” (which still exist) this was cd that eluded me.  Even with some good shops in my area I could only ever find “the best of..” and some crazy “import” price.  Overall the record is a fun stroll down memory lane.  Largely because the “sound” of the record.  Nothing fancy, just some great catchy well crafted songs.

Links, find out more, follow em and buy
Icicle Works on Wiki

Disclaimer – I am just a music fan. Feel free to comment about something that may be written incorrectly about the band/members etc. I strive to have a fun and enjoyable site. This site used to post mp3s but ran in to many issues. The audio clips provided are usually from YouTube. No copy write infringement is intended. Please alert me if something should be pulled. Finally, support the artist featured, or your favorite artist by purchasing their music, seeing their shows if possible and saying hi. They need your support.


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