FAME Review: The Icarus Line - Slave Vows
The Icarus Line - Slave Vows

Slave Vows

The Icarus Line

Agitated Records - AGIT022CD

No online purchase source found at the time of posting this review.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

The Icarus Line has been around for a decade and a half, and this is their 5th release, a disc of, as the promo lit claims, 'Stoogian slam', but I'm not sure any but intelligent Ig-heads are going to quite know what that fully means unless they first understand that James Osterberg (Iggy Stooge) knows his musical shit, and the reason his band attained to godly status is because he is as much a devotee of John Cage as Captain Beefheart as the MC5. All those influences show in his work if you know how to hear them. Well, The Icarus Line isn't your typical gaggle of punk headbangers and ersatz 80s hippies either, as the opening cut, Dark Circles, largely instrumental and reminiscent of the Stooges' brilliant but forgotten We Will Fall, more than attests. Once you open your ears to it, you'll see why Killing Joke asked them to tour. This shit will activate your cerebellum as it chills spines, crushes skulls, and brings smiles to lips.

The second track, Don't Let Me Save Your Soul, is waaaay Stoogey with added psychedelic punch, though Marathon Man is hellishly Seeds-y, an evocation of Sky Saxon at his nastiest, grungiest, most barbed, with the guitarist, some cat named 'Cardamone', tearing the viscera out of his instrument in a cosmic howl that cuts through stone. Blue Cheer's Leigh Stephens has nothing on this bastard, and the group demonstrates a more coherent line than Leigh's old ensemble, incorporating elements of Can, Einsturzende Neubatten, and others into its conglomerate sound.

More than anything, though, this CD packs real psychedelia of a taste not often heard despite all attempts to revive the old days. The problem has ongoingly been primarily semantic: many think Donovan and The Association, for instance, were psychedelic, but die-hard acidheads from the day know better. In Slave Vows can be heard The Red Crayola's Parable of Arable Land, snatches of the spirit of Pink Floyd's Ummagumma, Amon Duul II, and a bunch of others all smashed up in a heavy assault peppered with pools of calm so that the audience doesn't suffer multiple heart attacks and thus put the kibosh on the next CD…unless, of course, PayPal's figured out a way to extract bucks from the deceased. No use taking risks, I say, so down a few beers or break open that fifth, or both, as you toss this on. Your heart will thank you, your CD player will thank you, and you'll thank you: headbanging's a whole lot healthier if you can sit and brood in between the self-administered pummelings.

Track List:

  • Dark Circles
  • Don't Let Me Save Your Soul
  • Marathon Man
  • Dead Body
  • No MOney Music
  • City Job
  • Laying Down for the Man
  • Rats Ass
No songwriting credits given (promo copy), but, given the conversations
indited in the half-liner, I'm guessing Cardamone's the composer.

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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