Icarus the Owl
Pilot Waves


4.0
excellent

Review

by d00derz USER (2 Reviews)
October 16th, 2015 | 139 replies


Release Date: 10/16/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Flying closer to the Sun, without getting burned.

Originally posted on youreviews.us

Icarus The Owl is a 4 piece technical pop punk band formed in 2009 after the break-up of Kill Your Ex. With odd-time signatures at almost every turn, this music keeps you thinking while catching you with its melodic hooks. Despite its length in comparison to previous outings, the album still manages to captivate the listener with its crystal clear production and cleaned up songwriting to craft shorter, more concise songs. After three full-length releases and recently signing to Blue Swan records, one might wonder how Pilot Waves compares with their critically acclaimed prior outings. Rest assured. Pilot Waves is Icarus’ greatest outing yet.

Icarus has found a way to trim the fat from their songs and create songs that are more concise and cohesive. By no means does this mean that the sing-alongs or crazy time-signature shifts are gone; they are still there, and are as polished as ever. Single “I Am the Delorean” demonstrates that Icarus knows how to craft a song that proves to be almost radio friendly, while still maintaining their signature sound of technical pop punk, all while conveying a message of melancholy at the loss of someone loved. Likewise, the other single “Skysweeper” is another winner, filled with soaring vocals and intricate guitar work.

Pilot Waves is Icarus’ shortest work to date, clocking in at a brief 41 minutes, but don’t be led to believe that the album is not chocked full of extremely well written and catchy songs. “Prague, 1842” and “Dinosword” are the two shortest of the bunch, but still manage to captivate the listener and leave the listener more than satisfied. By no means do any of the songs feel any longer or shorter than they need to be; no, it seems that Icarus has found their niche and have polished their game well enough to write a 3 minute song without leaving the listener wanting more.

Another point worth noting is the production. Instead of going to Kris Crummett, with whom they recorded Icarus the Owl with, Icarus once again went with Stephan Hawkes at Interlace Audio, who produced their first two albums. As always, the vocals are top notch and the guitars shine with all the complex riffs and time-signature shifts. What is great is the bass is clearly audible, which is hard to find in many albums recently. The drums are equally impressive: hard hitting without ever feeling too overwhelming.

Overall, Pilot Waves is a fantastic, and impressive album from start to finish. Despite it’s short length, Icarus has trimmed the excess from their song structure to create more concise and cohesive songs. The production, as always, is top notch with crystal clear technical guitar work, soaring vocals, audible bass, and excellent drum work. This album is Icarus’ best work to date, and is bound to be on many year-end lists.


user ratings (102)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Hopelust
October 16th 2015


3381 Comments


All this talk of year end lists lately... it's still october!

So this sounds fantastic, as all Icarus The Owl albums do in a review. Is it actually fantastic or are the vocals still irksome?

elephantREVOLUTION
October 16th 2015


2973 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

digging this but i still think the self titled was better. there aren't as many crazy tapping parts here

Nomos
October 16th 2015


1737 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I think this work is a lot more busy and intense, so it'll take me a few more listens with headphones before I'm 100% sure, but I think this might be their best yet! Prague, 1842 is simply phenomenal.

TooManyFriends
October 16th 2015


3001 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this band reminds me of the audition. kinda wish they'd embrace the poppiness, the "heavy" parts kinda fall flat.

Calc
Contributing Reviewer
October 16th 2015


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

cringed at that summary, but except for prague 1842, this just isn't grabbing me.

Krvst
October 17th 2015


456 Comments


Never even heard of this band, technical pop punk has got me intrigued

GreyShadow
October 17th 2015


2942 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I love every second of this album. Bonus track was really cute too if you heard that.

I think I prefer the production on the self-titled, not that this is even remotely bad, just a preference.

This album is definitely tighter than the self-titled and I'm too hyped about this one to have a favorite. Their 2 last closers are still their overall best songs but so much of this album is some of their best material

Digging: La Dispute - Panorama

GreyShadow
October 17th 2015


2942 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I also love the excess use of gang vocals on this album. You would think they would get old since they are used to end practically all of these tracks, but nope. It gets me every time.



I have no complaints about this but if anything I wish Peaks and Valley Lines was a bit more ballad-like than it is and that the title track's ending section had like a minute more to get even crazier or something.

indigonowhere
Emeritus
October 17th 2015


10727 Comments


Mantis is the best

Nomos
October 17th 2015


1737 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

We both loved the S/T Omaha if I remember correctly. You reviewing this one?

SimpleM
October 17th 2015


120 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

really impressed by this

LotusFlower
October 17th 2015


12001 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

probably their most solid album yet. loving how catchy the choruses on these songs are.

GreyShadow
October 17th 2015


2942 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Delorean, Dinosword, and Werewolf Tea Party are all pop perfection. The endings of the latter two are perfect.

MuhNamesTyler
October 18th 2015


6498 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

POS



this album was a nice surprise kind of came outta nowhere. Gonna jam later

That sucks calc I know you dug the last two

Nomos
October 18th 2015


1737 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

It feels like their S/T JUST came out, doesn't it? So I was expecting this to sound possibly rushed and mediocre. But it's absolutely on par with their best stuff.

ProjectFreak
October 18th 2015


3459 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Not sure where this ranks in their discography, but Mad Machine and Mantis are excellent.



I think this is their most consistent album but Love Always, Leviathan still has most of the band's highlights.

indigonowhere
Emeritus
October 19th 2015


10727 Comments


"We both loved the S/T Omaha if I remember correctly. You reviewing this one?"

word. i enjoy this album but dont think ill have time to cover it / also dont have anything super interesting to say about it haha. gonna try to cover new oneohtrix and that will probably keep me busy

Toondude10
October 19th 2015


13743 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

there really isn't anything that's phenomenal on here but it's pretty enjoyable. Skysweeper is probably my favorite.

Digging: Devin Townsend - Empath

GreyShadow
October 20th 2015


2942 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

That title track would be amazing to see live.

Nomos
October 20th 2015


1737 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I see Omaha! That's fair. Along with what toon said, I think it's easy to spin the whole thing without much standing out. My first few listens were "meh". And I'm not saying it's a grower necessarily, because for some people I don't think it will be. It still has a dense immediacy, but can seem less memorable than their last two records when you look at their standout tracks.



For me though, it is a grower. Among that singular, busy sound that flows through the whole thing, I'm starting to see the smaller details and find melodies I didn't notice before, and I love that. For nostalgia's sake I think I'll still always love their second LP the most, but this has almost beat their self-titled for me.



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