Icarus Line : London 100 Club

Godspeed these red 'n' black emperors...

They look like the Satanic Hives, in their black shirts, black trousers and dark red ties. Like the Howlin' Pelle, Icarus Line's singer Joe Cardamone writhes around the stage like a wasp fried by a powerful light bulb, now winding his microphone around his arm like an addict's rubber tubing, now throwing it up in the air like a missile.

But Joe never, ever catches it. That would be against the principles of Icarus Line. They have no 'moves' - unless you count guitarist Aaron North flinging himself at the wall, or his attempts at a headstand on the PA. Or guitarist Alvin DeGuzman's use of his guitar strings as dental floss. No, no moves here. Icarus Line have nothing to offer but their disorder.

It's quite a gift. This dedication to chaos stretches to Icarus Line's songs, too. They've done away with boring things like verses, choruses, melodies, structure. It's saying something that their most tuneful songs tonight - the terrific finale 'Love Is Happiness', an earlier 'You Make Me Nervous' - sound like The Jesus Lizard in a blizzard, all lurching bass and inchoate yelling.

At least there's bits that, like, repeat in those songs. New tracks like 'Kiss Like Lizards' come affected by attention deficit disorder. Not so much a song as a howl of feedback, followed by a knot of bass torsion, followed by a quiet malevolent bit, followed by 57 different varieties of churning, 'Kiss' out-does anything by And You Will Know Us By Our Lack Of Tunes for heady art-punk meandering. Now and again, these wild pitches into left-field teeter close to prog. It's a leaning not helped by Icarus Line 's red eye makeup,

which melts down the their faces so that by mid-set, they look like rare African tree mammals taken by surprise.

And yet Icarus Lineare magnificent. It's rare to get this far on attitude and dissonance - even ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead have songs you can hum. They have further to go still: under the wild hair, singer Joe looks like a pissed off Julian Casablancas. And within their tag team of detuned refuseniks, there burns a soul and purpose (hate everybody, destroy everything) that's sorely lacking in today's careerist underground. Godspeed these red 'n' black emperors.

Kitty Empire

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