Over the years some fairly odd things have become hits. Try to think of the weirdest hit single ever. Whatever you think of, I will bet that the oddly named, Test Icicles UK hit, Circle, Square, Triangle is weirder than, or equal to in weirdness.
While usually I stay away from bands that scream most of there lyrics, there is something about Test Icicles that draws them to me. Maybe because it's different than anything I've ever listened to. Maybe it's because TI are the perfect antacid to the type of music I usually listen to. Whatever the case Test Icicles brand of music attracts me in some way.
Test Icicles' debut (and since they recently called it quits, last) album is a frantic blend of experimental, post-hardcore, punk and noise pop. Weird, is the first word that came to mind when I put For Screening Purposes Only
into my computer. The album is a (nearly) non-stop barrage of sound to the ears. Don't get me wrong though, after I got my head around how strange FSPO is I really began to enjoy it. Tracks like album opener, "Your Biggest Mistake", a track chock full of screamed lyrics, dark, descending synth lines and crazy guitar riffs make it hard to sit still while you listen.
Despite being their furiously frantic instrumentation, Test Icicles still manage to write catchy songs. Tracks like "Pull the Lever" and the previously mentioned "Circle, Square, Triangle" are hard not to sing along to (well depends who you talk to). The latter begins with an off beat guitar riff and a dark bass line finally evolving into an upbeat mix of furious yet catchy guitar, huge bass and what sounds like a British man being strangled while singing some fairly odd lyrics. Hard to figure out why the same country who loves James Blunt and Keane would love this. But then again I like it and I listen to Wilco and Death Cab for Cutie.
Some tracks off this album are just a little too much for me. "Catch It" is a good example of this. Verses made up entirely of heavy guitar, fast drums and some of scariest screaming I've ever encountered. The song makes an about face in the choruses, when the guitars drop out and leave just an evil synth line and vocals repeating Catch It over and over.
This album to my surprise did more than confuse and entertain me. It made me want to dance. The whole album is quite upbeat. Tracks like the super cool 'Boa vs. Python' make me get out of my seat (or at least move my head, hands or feet). Seeing the lyrics certainly won't convince you of this though, Forget the rain, you can always say keep trying /So much for life /We could always wait for it to sink in
are screamed/sung (fairly hard to tell) in Test Icicles' singer's distinct yelp over high gain guitar riffs and fast-paced drums. "All You Need is Blood", another highly danceable track follows nearly the same pattern.
All in all For Screening Purposes Only is a good CD. Different and smart, two things the music industry (well the pop industry) lacks. Sadly the Test Icicles are no more, so this is our only insight into their spastic punk style.
Different (From what I listen to)
Tracks can get kind of samey
Some terrible tracks, such as 'What's Michelle Like? "
Your Biggest Mistake
Circle, Square, Triangle
Boa vs. Python
What?s Your Damage