The Icarus Line
Slave Vows


4.1
excellent

Review

by Greg Fisher STAFF
July 24th, 2013 | 27 replies


Release Date: 08/06/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A defiant mix of robust post-punk and hypnotic psychedelia.

When making music, spontaneity often outweighs the larger amount of time required for a meticulous creative process. Joe Cardamone came to this conclusion while producing more and more records of young acts. His post-punk outfit The Icarus Line have been an integral part of LA's underground scene for nearly 15 years putting out four notable albums in the process, yet they've only just decided to venture into a rapid way of doing things on their new release. Slave Vows has been conceived at breakneck speed, being recorded live in Cardamone's studio with hardly any overdubs. Needless to say, the effect is reinvigorating.

Cardamone couldn't pick out a better time to revive the energy of his band than after 2011's Wildlife which, contrary to its title, was a rather restrained and timid affair. Slave Vows happens to be a polar opposite: structured songs have been replaced by much noisier and more experimental jams that let the quartet delve into full-fledged psychedelia on many occasions. The hypnotic aggression that's in full swing here sits remarkably well with The Icarus Line’s usually frenetic standards. Full of unhinged guitar leads, pulsating bass lines, taut drumming and hazy keys, the record sounds both traditional and refreshing. It treads a fine line between 1970s rock aesthetics and adventurous dynamics, proving highly effective at carrying out a plethora of vicious sonic attacks.

In fact, the majority of eight songs on Slave Vows works as a textbook definition of how to build and release tension. Opener “Dark Circles” is an 11-minute psych-drone epic that kicks off with a menacing trail of feedback, then gradually evolves into a narcotic beat, only to settle in the decadent blues in the latter half. On the other hand, “Dead Body” explodes halfway through with mercilessly hissing keys, providing a backdrop for a bombarding lead riff that later on devolves into a shrieking wall of noise. As the album progresses, it becomes evident that, by exposing themselves to the intense recording practice, The Icarus Line have come out with a highly dynamic endeavor, complete with Cardamone's passionate yells and lyrics that defiantly tackle the ceaseless frustrations of modern life in the face of financial crisis.

It's no accident that one of the record's most piercing moments is called “No Money Music.” The walls of distortion and buzz-saw riffs should firmly discourage radio stations from playing any of these songs, but making money is not the point. As Cardamone stated, he feels disillusioned about music industry as much now as he did when he formed the band. That definitely lends Slave Vows its share of vitriol and ferocity. Whatever the album lacks in refinement and songwriting polish, it gains in the unflagging energy these tunes emanate.



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user ratings (21)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
greg84
Staff Reviewer
July 24th 2013


7430 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

The album's available on spotify and iTunes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBqGD-auMKI

Marathon Man:

http://theicarusline.bandcamp.com/track/marathon-man

Digging: Wildbirds & Peacedrums - Rhythm

MrElmo
July 24th 2013


1955 Comments


Wow was affraid this band had been forgotten. Mono is a fantastic record so I'm happy you gave this band some light greg. As for the record i'll check into it if it's got more moments like Mono's "In Lieu". Really good review too

Irving
Staff Reviewer
July 24th 2013


7318 Comments


Greg, you're seriously one of only two reasons why the Staff board even looks active anymore (the other reason is called Jacob Royal).

Props bud. Going to read the review now ;)

Digging: Portishead - Dummy

greg84
Staff Reviewer
July 24th 2013


7430 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

@MrElmo:
It's reportedly their best album so far. You should definitely dig it. It balances noise rock with psychedelic tendencies really well imo. I'm not very familiar with Mono tbh.

@Irving:
Yep. I've noticed some guys aren't particularly active, which is understandable due to holiday time and all. Cheers man.



MrElmo
July 24th 2013


1955 Comments


Cool, although this is coming out in a long time

tragic.details
July 24th 2013


624 Comments


Great review, Greg. I'm diggin' Marathon Man so I'll probably buy this when I get the chance.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
July 24th 2013


6275 Comments


The summary got me intrigued at least.

Will check the YT asap.

Digging: Varathron - Untrodden Corridors of Hades

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
July 24th 2013


10355 Comments


"Greg, you're seriously one of only two reasons why the Staff board even looks active anymore (the other reason is called Jacob Royal)."

Well, hey there cutie.

"When making music, spontaneity often outweighs the long time of meticulous creative process."

The long time of meticulous creative process? I get what you're saying here, but you may want to find a clearer way to word this. Maybe "the larger amount of time required for a more meticulous writing process."

greg84
Staff Reviewer
July 24th 2013


7430 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

Ah yeah. Sounds much better. I've changed that part. Thanks a bunch for the suggestion.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
July 25th 2013


31475 Comments


Should check this out, I used to love Penance Soiree back in the day

Digging: Hyperdub - Hyperdub 10.4

RangerTaffles
July 25th 2013


262 Comments


Greg, thanks to you I've found some wonderful releases. Keep it up man!

Never get tired of reading your stuff.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
July 25th 2013


7430 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

@Deviant.
It's not incredibly similar to Penance Soiree, but you still may dig it.

@Ahmad498
Thanks a ton, man.


Omaha
Staff Reviewer
July 25th 2013


10355 Comments


No problem, man. Nice review-- this sounds pretty cool. It's more respectable to know this was recorded live, too. I know I'd be nervous to be recorded for an album during a show, especially considering how crazy some concerts get. If anything, it says a lot about their musicianship.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
July 25th 2013


7430 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

Definitely. It's a really cool experiment that made the music feel more spontaneous too. Risk sometimes pays well when you know what to do.

Cygnatti
July 25th 2013


21837 Comments


I like the sound of that summary. gotta check.

Digging: Autechre - Chiastic Slide

TrueBlood
July 25th 2013


1388 Comments


art's pretty champ

tommygun
July 25th 2013


25097 Comments


interested

Digging: Banks - Goddess

scissorlocked
July 26th 2013


3511 Comments


ace review man

just listened to marathon man and it's pretty good, I have to admit

Digging: Distance - Outer Limits

greg84
Staff Reviewer
July 26th 2013


7430 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

Thanks a ton for your continuous support, scissorlocked. You should write more man.

MrElmo
July 26th 2013


1955 Comments


Caught up with those two tracks you linked. I just love how beautifully raw and uncompromising Marathon Man is, it just explodes. Dark Circles is effective as an unnerving opener, especially if the whole album has the same nerve as Marathon Man



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