February 16, 2004
Icarus Line : London Oxford Street Metro
Despite being from the West Coast, Icarus Line sport the kind of pasty complexions that make Carlos Interpol look like a bronzed Venice Beach muscleman by comparison. But - unlike our heroic post-punk Nosferatu - their pallour is less likely to be the result of week-long PCP'n'martini benders than an inability to drag themselves away from those Dungeons'n'Dragons-type role playing games on the 'net. Fortunately these five LA lost boys have managed to put down their Dreamweaver manuals long enough to sign to the same label as Stereophonics, tour with Primal Scream and record an album of claustrophobic psycho-goth nastiness.
To make sure we really get the point, tonight guitarist Aaron's North's painted a black stripe across his eyes like Daryl Hannah at the end of Bladerunner, while the rest of the band are rocking that close-to-miiidnight! extra-from-the-'Thriller'-video look with suitably blank-eyed aplomb. They look, it has to be said, utterly ridiculous. But then so do all the best bands - and Icarus Line are fast becoming the equal of all the groups on their iPods. Take their cover of Spacemen 3's 'Losing Touch With My Mind': while the original had a touch of sniffing-glue-down-by-the-war-memorial Midlands pastiness about it, the version tonight is a monstrous, whooshing slab of itchy LA drug paranoia.
Yes, they've been raiding their big brothers' Stooges bootlegs for inspiration - rangy singer Joe Cardome's got Iggy's goofy/sexy/menacing thing nailed - but imminent single 'Up Against The Wall Motherfuckers' piles enough white noise and industrial scree onto the 'Funhouse' template to save it from being pointless retro posturing. They're loud, too: 'Caviar' resurrects the misanthropic clanging of Big Black, while the creepy 'Spike Island' has less to do with fisherman's hats and roomy Joe Bloggs clobber than Tony Iommi freaking out on acid and thinking that his skin's covered with spiders. Cheerily-titled closer 'Love Is Dead' even provokes Joe into crawling along the Metro's tiny bar on his belly, smashing bottles and sending drinks crashing to the floor in the process. Icarus Lineare flying high. Just not too close to the sun, that's all.
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