Icarus Line : London Camden Barfly

The Icarus Line can't help but sound nasty

No one was ever expecting this. When The Icarus Line first played in London last summer, they were a raggedy, slapdash and frankly largely tuneless delight. As wide-eyed as five jaded LA kids can get, they laced their frantic semi-orthodox hardcore with some sleazy blues-rock and Stoogesy menace, stumbled around a bit and generally exhumed a sort of giddy confidence.

But now… now they look ill. Ill and nasty; uniformly red eyed, with pasty complexions and lank, matted hair straying over their collars. As soon as they grind into super slo-mo newie ‘The Big Sleep’ everything becomes clear: The Icarus Line are no longer even vaguely a punk band, whatever you want that to mean. Locking instead into a heavy-lidded pizza ‘n’ late night TV stoner-rock sound, the new material mines a noble seam of nod music. ‘Kiss Like Lizards’ has the heavy, resigned repetition of Jason Pierce’s pre-Spiritualized drone maestros Spacemen 3, while the saucer-eyed space-rock of ‘Getting Bright At Night’ is almost reminiscent of early Verve – except with better drugs and worse hair.

Still, The Icarus Line have the good sense to pepper their lengthy drug-jam leanings – wah wah, repetition – with brief, coruscating blasts like ‘Feed A Cat To Your Cobra’, a song built on the simplest, brashest riff imaginable. Because even at their most laid-back, The Icarus Line can’t help but sound nasty.

Pat Long