It really is a shame when good things are left forgotten. I really apologise to this album. I really do. Because this The Icicle Works is an piece of early 80s alt that is really quite good.
The Icicle Works’ debut album was released in 1984 on Beggars Banquet records. It’s quite a good album that has little to no acclaim to it – not because it isn’t a good album but because it seems to have laid forgotten (much like my copy of this album has been). The band had the same sort of grand, sweeping psychedelic flare of Echo & the Bunnymen (possible due to the common Liverpool tie), with the sort of story-teller voice of Ian McNabb. This freshman album brings comparisons to Ocean Rain, which is a fair enough, but it is very much worth a listen in its own right.
The Icicle Works are one of those bands that seemed to have trickled through the cracks of music history. This is by no means a poor album either. It’s quite an enjoyable listen, even if it’s not always the most original sounding.
This is one of those instances where the change in track order makes a difference to how the album sounds. This is a U.S. release of the album, and that’s not only noticeable because of the alternate cover, but from the fact that the album opens here with the single “Whisper to a Scream (Birds Fly).” Truth be told, the UK original version probably edges out the US and Canadian versions. Track “Reaping the Rich Harvest” was removed and replaced with “Waterline,” which is fine but not really an improvement in any way.
For the life of me I cannot remember where this album came from. There is literally no memory of picking it up. Perhaps it is memory loss because this is one of the newest bits I own (blame it on going back to a full-time job). I remember really being into “Whisper to a Scream” because it really is one hell of a single, but this poor album never made it more than a few spins. In fact, this is one album that is still sitting in storage in America. In a way I do feel a bit guilty because it probably deserves a proper listen again.
For this post, I have listened to it on the laptop (which I guess is cheating since we’re talking about vinyl here). I’ve come to the conclusion that this is one of those albums where I think it excels outside of the singles. I was never totally blown away by “Love is a Wonderful Colour,” but there are definitely other songs here worth listening to like “Chop the Tree” (which is how the UK album opened).
What The Icicle Works proves is that there is always something to uncover in the vaults of 80s music.