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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Penance Soiree

The Icarus Line

2004

Penance Soiree
Album Summary

Penance Soiree is the second full-length album released by Los Angeles band The Icarus Line. It was one of 2004's most critically acclaimed releases, and its reputation has subsequently earned praise in various publications, including the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.Due to infighting with the band's U.S. division of their record label at the time, V2 Records, the album, which was recorded in early 2003, was not released until May 2, 2004. Disagreements and aggravations on the band's end stemmed from the label's general lack of interest and support, a nearly non-existent promotional campaign for the album, and the group's control over its artwork. The U.S. division of the record label did not invest in even one advertisement for the release, and also made the band pay for the production of their music videos out of their own pocket. The album was produced by Michael Musmanno, and then mixed by Alan Moulder. Moulder also contributed some last minute recording and engineering to the album, while mixing it in London with Aaron North and Joe Cardamone at Eden Studios in west London. The song "On the Lash" was also re-mixed for the album's inclusion by Ken Andrews, due to the band being unhappy with the original mix after returning home. The album was mastered by Howie Weinberg in New York City. This was the last album by The Icarus Line that featured guitarist Aaron North.

Wikipedia

Rating

2.51

Votes

11110

Genres

  • Rock

Reviews

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Thu May 13 2021
1

Somehow manages to be both headache inducing and boring

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Thu Mar 24 2022
1

Ick. I’d say forgettable but I remembered feeling pleased when the album ended.

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Sun Jun 06 2021
1

Noise, a lot of very similar noise. I liked maybe the one song but the album is very repetitive and discordant.

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Sun May 16 2021
2

why in the world is this on this list? totally dated. i'm sure NME claimed this band was Here to Save Rock and Roll at some point. spare me.

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Wed May 26 2021
1

The album is just kind of a lot of noise. It sounds like any other garage rock / 2000's White Stripes copy. Unfortunately, this album doesn't bring anything new or interesting to the table. It's weird that anyone would put this on a list of quintessential albums.

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Sun Mar 12 2023
1

You got good noise (Sonic Youth, Blonde Redhead, Unwound, Jesus Lizard, mclusky, Royal Trux, Swans etc etc) and you got bad noise made by copycat bands that have no sound on their own, like this band. It is just noise with a bit of garage rock, or the other way around.. it does not matter.

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Thu Nov 18 2021
3

Very noisy, but solid tunes in there somewhere too. Clear influence on royal blood and the white stripes, hints of the strokes, queens of the stone age, and plenty of grunge. Not one of the best 1001 albums, but an interesting one I would never otherwise have heard

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Fri Mar 25 2022
1

Not good; this is what you'd hear on a network tv show when they need some "edgy" rock music, like in CSI when they go to a seedy club to question someone, or when a main character spins out

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Wed May 12 2021
4

I did not expect to enjoy this as much, a seamless intersection of garage rock, alternative rock and post-hardcore with a garnish of noise.

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Fri May 21 2021
2

Post-hardcore elevator music. 6.6/10

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Thu Mar 24 2022
1

Slightly embarrassing rock ... when it went "fuckk youuuuu" at the end of one song in that cringe american rock singing style I think I actually lolled quite a lot. I did not find this engaging, it all just passed me by really with little impact

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Thu Mar 16 2023
1

Scary album cover. I felt like I was so dialed in to music (maybe just to emo!) back in 2004, when this album came out, but I've never heard of this band as far as I can remember. And I hope to never remember them, either.

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Sun Dec 20 2020
4

The filthy bass sound had me right From the start. I listened on iphone speakers, so the tinny vocals and guitar fuzz got a bit old by the end. It was also quite repetitive by the end. A good album though and will definitely be listening again soon

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Fri May 27 2022
3

I WANTED to like this a lot. It's some really groovy bottled napalm. But it's just a little too edgy for me. Several times I thought a track was going to be a big highlight, but by the time it reached its full crescendo it just wasn't enjoyable any more. I actually suspect this is a problem exacerbated on the first-impression. If I knew where each song was going I think I wouldn't find it as annoying..... but Oh well! on to the next day!

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Tue Aug 01 2023
3

A fun noisy racket but not much more. When you think this came out 35 years after The Stooges, you'd think more evolution would have occurred.

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Sun Mar 17 2024
2

The band is so loud, yet they make no real noise. The singer is doing so much, yet saying so little. There are so many notes, yet no actual melodies. So much effort for such little payoff. Complete anonymity. Example #36 of “why *must* I hear this before I die?” 2/5

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Thu Mar 21 2024
1

Before today, I'd never heard of The Icarus Line. After listening to "Penance Soiree", that makes total sense. I can't recall ever hearing electric guitars sound so unpleasant. These guys may be skilled musicians, but their overindulgence on effects pedals is awful. It sounds like white noise. It's torturous. If you don't believe me, listen to "Spit On It". The one decent song on here is called "Getting Bright at Night". However, they decide to drag this track out for over 9 minutes. Fucking hell, lads, ever hear the phrase, "Don't outstay your welcome"? You can hear their musical influences throughout the album. There's hints of Soundgarden, The Jesus and Mary Chain, NIN, Violent Femmes, and Iggy Pop. So these lads clearly have great taste in music. The problem is, they don't have the creativity to produce that same level of magic. There's nothing catchy or interesting or enjoyable on this album. Give it a miss. 👎👎

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Thu Sep 03 2020
4

Thrashy but good, very heavy and angry bass in each song

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Sun Feb 07 2021
4

Really enjoyed it, didn't expect some of trumpet and piano riffs

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Fri Apr 09 2021
4

4.5. Really blew me away. Wasn't expecting much but this album was great

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Thu May 20 2021
4

this was actually dope, I liked the energy and the tone of vocals. reminded me of a more melodic dfa 1979

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Wed Jan 26 2022
4

Vocals are reminiscent of Iggy Pop and Lou Reed with jangly guitars. Songs feel at once modern and from another time. 4/5 stars

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Fri Oct 21 2022
4

Goddamn, I was completely blown away by this! At the beginning of my first listen, I had to get a bit into it, but when 'On The Lash' came on, it was like the combination of brutality and catchiness clicked with me. On 'Spike Island' Joe Cardamone's desperate but lazy vocals is easily compared to fellow rock-revivor Julian Casablancas. And what an insanely great sound on the bass and guitar! The brutality seeps through the record - on the vicious 'Kiss Like Lizards' or on 'Getting Bright at Night' where an intense cacophony explodes into energetic riffs. On top of that you have innovative changes in dynamics on the post-punky 'Big Sleep' as well as a jazz-inspired polyrhythmic sequence on 'White Devil'. The record truly keeps you on your toes. Industrial of course also makes a guest appearance on 'Meatmaker' (a 00's fad that I am not a fan of), and psychedelia is given a whirl as well on 'Sea Sick' (this I approve of). But then... For some inexplicable reason, they decided to end the album with 'Party the Baby Off'. What an insufferable, empty-headed tune sounding like it belongs on an Aerosmith album - and not one of the tolerable ones. So much fun. So disappointed. What a rollercoaster.

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Wed Mar 24 2021
3

This has aged very well for the 2004 Hot Topic scene.

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Wed Dec 01 2021
3

I reviewed music for Buddyhead just before they signed The Icarus Line. (None of my online write-ups survived over the past 20 years, I looked). Travis was an intense dude and poured everything he had into Buddyhead. He rejected substantial offers to maintain legitimacy and be able to write whatever the hell he wanted to. He carved out and occupied a special space in the LA / Hollywood music scene. I listened to this Penance Soiree back when it was new. On a fleeting superficial level, I thought there was something to like contained in the album. For example, the way that the first song starts (Up Against the Wall Motherfuckers) is great, the distortion and long pauses open to heavy bass-y basics against a subdued tempo and decent vocals. Spike Island retains a little bit of this but as the album progresses, it sounds kind of like a self-absorbed Soundgarden / Chris Cornell revival. I hated Soundgarden and the album was forgettable. Reading up on TIL, I found out that Mark Trombino, of Drive Live Jehu (and a bunch of other productions) was set to produce an album, but dropped out for some reason. DLJs Yank Crime still stands as one of my favorite albums of all time and I listened to it again with new ears. And today, some of makes me think of The Dirty Nil, who I really like. They've got great energy and power, but even still, there's just not enough that is interesting to continue listening. Great memories, meh music.

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Wed Mar 24 2021
2

Better than I expected but not as good as it could have been.

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Thu Jul 01 2021
2

Messy, sprawling, meandering. There's a good album in here somewhere but it's buried underneath a band that feels like it's not sure what it's trying to be.

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Wed Dec 01 2021
2

It just feels loud and brash for the sake of being loud and brash. It lacks spirit or soul, or an intelligent spark, behind the chaos. The internet tells me they are post-hardcore. Though it seems that genre is pretty broad. And filled with bands I like better. (And some I don't.) Naming themselves The Icarus Line feels like it wound up being ironic. Maybe they were worried about flying too close to the sun, but in truth they never really approached that line, stalling out on their journey to rock fame and the bright lights. (https://pitchfork.com/thepitch/the-icarus-line-must-die-shows-the-dark-purgatory-of-a-cult-rock-band-that-never-gave-up/)

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Fri Jul 28 2023
2

Listening to it is - quote - "That's the last thing I want to do" I seriously don't need to hear it before I die. There're tons of bands like this.

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Sun Nov 12 2023
2

Nr. 34/1001 Up Against The Wall Motherfucker 3/5 Spit On It 2/5 On The Lash 2/5 Caviar 2/5 Spike Island 2/5 Kiss Like Lizards 1/5 Getting Bright At Night 2/5 Big Sleep 2/5 White Devil 2/5 Meatmaker 1/5 Virgin Velcro 2/5 Sea Sick 2/5 Party The Baby Off 2/5 Average: 1,92 Plain, boring and repetitve

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Fri Apr 19 2024
2

This is adjacent to music I quite like - Hot Snakes and Bitch Magnet examples in mind - but remain ambivalent about as a concept. This kind of twisty, angular, declarative rock mostly eschews tunes while staying clear of pure timbre, freeform wanderings, so needs killer riffs and dynamics to work for me. My conception of the form is of records composed almost entirely of the instrumental, interstitial/linking bits of Led Zep records. Maybe some Black Sab intros and outros are in the mix too, or ZZ Top if you’re Shellac. Thé riffs and dynamics on this are just workmanlike, while the record is far too long and the singing starts sounding more yap-yap-yap than manifesto-making as it goes on: the creepiness of the final repeated lines feel like an inevitability. The songs containing Suicide-esque synth pulses pleased my ears, but are more like postures of allegiance than musical decisions.

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Wed Apr 20 2022
5

Very cool noise rock. Worth a listen.

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Mon May 16 2022
5

4.5/5. Right up my mf alley. Bruh it’s got NiN AND Ink + Dagger members. Post hardcore rules

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Sat May 13 2023
5

First album in over 740 that I haven't been able to find any where. A pretty incredible feat all things considered. The fact that I've had immediate access to almost 750 albums spanning all the way back to the 1950s in my pocket is something we take way for granted. Undertaking a project like this even 15 years ago would have been a very different experience. For all it's short comings, Spotify is the one of the most important advancements in consumerism we've ever experienced

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Sat Sep 09 2023
5

When I saw this genre was "post-hardcore" I was pretty sure this wouldn't be for me. To my surprise I really love it! Edgy and cool in all the right ways, I didn't realize that I had room for a new post-hardcore band in my life. This is great rock and roll! The 1001 list disabuses me of yet another preconceived notion.

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Wed Feb 14 2024
5

Hell yeah, this is sick! It sucks so bad about the label issues because I never heard of this (presumably due to that) and I love it. I would've 100% been a huge fan of this album when it dropped. Regardless, I'm glad to have found it now at least. Noisy garage rock is my jam.

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Mon Jun 10 2024
5

So this is my 1001st album. Although there was never really a time that I seriously considered quitting this list it’s still somewhat mind blowing to actually be at the 1001st album. There’s still about 80 albums left so I’ll save all the reminiscing and reflecting and highlighting for the real end but even now I’m starting to get that bittersweet, college graduation feeling about something that’s been a part of my life for years coming to an end. As for the actual album, the more I listened to it, the more I enjoyed it. Thought it was going to be annoying nu metal at first but it turned out to be a really fun mish mash of rock subgenres. Rage against the machine and the whole grunge movement were the biggest influences but I also got early 00s alternative vibes. Big sleep, virgin Velcro, and party the baby off were all standouts but none of the tracks really stood above the rest; was more of a full album experience type thing.

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Wed Mar 24 2021
4

Never heard them before but really liked it. Will give this band further listens in the future.

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Sun Jun 06 2021
4

This band reminded me of an amalgamation of a bunch if different bands. This album was very good, I really enjoyed it!

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Thu Jul 29 2021
4

This is pretty much exactly what I want rock music to sound like

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Mon Aug 30 2021
4

I like the vocals and more downtempo tracks a lot. A little bogged down by the noisy stuff.

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Thu Sep 23 2021
4

Ik kende dit niet maar wat ik ervan mee heb gekregen op YouTube klonk toch wel erg tof! Irritant dat het niet op Spotify te vinden is want ik zou dit nog wel eens in goede kwaliteit willen horen.

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Thu Sep 23 2021
4

Dit bleek dus echt een pareltje te zijn. Helaas niet op spotify, maar ik ga hier zeker meer van luisteren.

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Mon Oct 04 2021
4

surprisingly good , punky and shouty. will listen to more of their stuff

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Wed Oct 20 2021
4

really appreciated this album. nice. punchy. punky. low-fi. goodness.

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Wed Oct 27 2021
4

In general, I’m not a fan of noise rock, but this wasn’t bad! Garage rock? Liked the vocals and catchy riffs. 4

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Fri Dec 03 2021
4

Never heard of these guys before but they did great guitary post-rock

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Fri Jan 14 2022
4

This was pretty cool. Never heard of this band before and I'm really glad they were on this list. Not sure if they'd make my list of top 1001 albums, but was glad to be introduced to an interesting sound.

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Fri Jan 28 2022
4

I had my doubts in the beginning but i ended up reallly enjoying this album!

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Wed Feb 09 2022
4

Noise/garage rock the brings up tastes of Black Flag and Iggy. Hooky, noise and all around enjoyable.

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Thu Feb 10 2022
4

Angst factor 11 and rising. This is ultimate screamo from a band that can play. A whole album becomes repetitive. Will still listen again, however.

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Thu Mar 31 2022
4

Rock garaje alternativa. Interesante

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Sun Apr 10 2022
4

I'd never heard of this band before, but was pleasantly surprised - in turns grungy, rock, metal, melodic, noisy... I could really see myself finding more and more to like about this album if I give it a few more listens.

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Wed Apr 20 2022
4

Had never heard of this group but this was a great listen. May relisten to decide whether to add to the usual rotation.

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Fri May 20 2022
4

I've always wondered how did punk evolved into post-punk. Now, I know. This 2000's garage rock bit topped with layers of noise seems to answer my questions. It's harsh and angsty, like punk, and wooshy, like post-punk. Too much noise and too loud, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

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Fri May 27 2022
4

Loved it. Super dark and gritty. Never heard of this band before!

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Mon Jul 25 2022
4

This isn’t bad at all… heard their name but never knowingly heard their music. Enjoyed it!

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Thu Aug 18 2022
4

These are the albums that make this whole project worth it for me - had never heard of this band before, but love this absolutely thrashing, nasty, guitar-whirlwind of an LP. The runtime may be a bit long for how many melodic ideas it has to offer, but what it lacks in creativity this album more than makes up for in energy. While it has a solid blues-rock basis, there are a few left-turn zigzags into weird chords or rhythms that keep the listener on their toes and make this an exciting trainwreck-in-motion of a listen.

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Fri Sep 09 2022
4

Another first. Good times. The sort of rock I used to love but don't listen to anymore.

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Wed Sep 14 2022
4

It grew on me as I listened. Brings me back to high school for sure.

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Thu Oct 13 2022
4

Gave me White Stripes vibes. I actually enjoyed quite a bit considering it was so random and unknown. 4.5

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Wed Oct 19 2022
4

This was something a bit more up my alley! I quite liked this mix of alternative and garage rock with some noise mixed in, though some of the noisier tracks were a bit difficult to listen to at parts. Favourite: Kiss Like Lizards

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Sun Dec 25 2022
4

Albums like these are what I expected this list to be.

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Sun Jan 08 2023
4

i wish i’d heard this when it was released because it would’ve really rung my bell

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Wed Jan 18 2023
4

This one caught me by surprise. Some very creative, slightly progressive, punk. I'll be revisiting it

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Sun Jan 22 2023
4

Yes, very repetitive, but, a very enjoyable album as well.

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Wed Jan 25 2023
4

I didn’t know anything about this band. I haven’t heard their name before. It was an interesting experience listening to this album. It is abrasive, energetic, passionate, with a compelling production and lots of ideas floating around. I think I need to go back a give it another listenings to better understand it. It seems to have more layers for me to discover, but I am no there yet.

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Sun Jan 29 2023
4

Bra oväsen! Gillar produktionen

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Sun Jan 29 2023
4

I was prepared for some more underwhelming 2000s picks from Bob but this is pretty gnarly. Nice one :)

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Sun Jan 29 2023
4

Ja kunde int lyssna hela albumet för de fanns typ ingenstans!! Så ja missa två sånger!! Men de som ja hörde va banger🥶

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Thu Mar 02 2023
4

sounds a bit like a lot of bands i like and it works. heavy, noisy and messy, i bet these were good live.

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Wed Mar 29 2023
4

I like noisy, but it's a bit too under-produced here. Real chunky riffs and jams tho.

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Thu Apr 06 2023
4

When this album was selected for me, I never heard of this band before or this album. Any details in regard to their background was scarce and so I went into this with blindfolds on and was just ready to take what was given. That being said, this is actually a pretty good record, albeit on the more raucous side of the equation. The Icarus Line do the best that they can in these balls to the wall, relentless fifty-three minutes, one minute dishing out two minute appetizers like it was nothing and the next minute delivering a nine minute epic as though they knew how to trek Mt. Olympus. All in all, don't turn up your nose when given this album: you may never know what you'll like. Favorites: Up Against the Wall, Motherfuckers, On the Lash, Caviar, Spike Island, Getting Bright at Night, Virgin Velcro, Seasick, Party the Baby Off.

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Tue May 09 2023
4

Literally never heard of The Icarus Line outside of this project, which is a bit weird. Yeah, I dig it - very chaotic garagey post-hardcore. Enjoyed it enough for three listens, and would happily go back for more! Fave track - "Getting Bright at Night" is a banger - especially the last third. "Meatmaker" is slavish Suicide worship, and I'm on board for it!

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Wed May 24 2023
4

Much better than I thought it would be, sounds like a classic rock band

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Fri Jun 02 2023
4

Rating: 7/10 Best songs: Caviar, Big sleep

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Wed Jun 07 2023
4

Surprised Iv never come across this band or album before. This is right up my street. Straight into my rotation.

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Thu Jun 22 2023
4

Never heard of this band. I liked it!

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Mon Jul 03 2023
4

Kind of close to what I normally listen to, and I think I heard their name before, but first time checking them out. Another really solid record, gotta listen to it more.

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Thu Jul 13 2023
4

8/10 really good stuff here very enjoyable

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Thu Jul 27 2023
4

Enjoyed much more than expected for mid-2000s. This is more like a high 3-low 4 but still. Pretty cool.

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Tue Aug 08 2023
4

Noisy rock, but fun to listen to. I had not heard this one before, but I will make sure it gets on my rotation.

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Mon Sep 04 2023
4

Aaron North makes every note chaos in the best way here. As he always does. This album is sloppy and it is barely holding together. And that is the genius of it. Not many hooks or traditional riffs. Just wild punk rock played with the energy of the sun.

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Wed Sep 06 2023
4

This album took me until about halfway through to really start to get it, and at that point I started it again and listened with fresh ears. I think this one is easy to miss, since it sounds generic at first, like a less poppy version of The Strokes. However, there's a lot more progression in these songs than in Strokes songs (also, these songs are not blatantly ripped off of very famous songs the way most of the Stokes big hits were). 4/5 This album definitely sounds like it was made in the mid 00s, but there's a lot more depth to the music than I initially perceived. Sort of a hidden gem in an incredibly bleak period for rock

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Sun Sep 24 2023
4

Another band I'd never heard of before that I enjoyed. This was a tiny bit too derivative in places, but overall I liked it very much. Definitely on my list to relisten now, as there were a few stand out parts here and there. Nothing too grating and no weak tracks that I noticed on one play through, although there were a few "this is too angst" moments maybe. Will get 4 stars for not being perfection, but good enough for another spin. Bonus points for Spotify playing The Fall "Green Eyed Loco Man" after the album completed, which I took as a good sign, helped me place when this album first came out, and did indeed have some similarities.

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Thu Sep 28 2023
4

Thought this was really quite good! Rock on!

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Thu Sep 28 2023
4

Really liked this, I assumed with the album cover and song names this would be very heavy metal, but it was actually pretty chill.

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Tue Oct 17 2023
4

Lots of aggressive noise on this album but the band excels at controlled chaos. Unlike a lot of noise rock or hardcore bands, where a certain amount of guitar feedback and sloppiness feels improvised, these guys sound like they’re very deliberate behind the boards. They deploy the screeches and feedback right where they want them. That feeling of being carefully put together is probably a result of the songwriting too. A lot of this music is dense and layered. I hear a Rolling Stones influence on a bunch of songs. Joe Cardamone’s vocals often sound like Mick Jagger. The band even sounds a little like Zeppelin on “Virgin Velcro.” It’s a potent combination: ‘fuck you’ hardcore noise + smart songwriting and musicianship + rockstar showmanship. Excellent album.

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Thu Oct 26 2023
4

4.5 stars. This album gets after it. A little muddled and overly distorted at times, but for the most part it's just really good rowdy post-hardcore. Starting with "Spike Island" it takes off, and the standout is "Getting Bright At Night".

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Mon Nov 06 2023
4

Just not my vibe. Great for someone that likes this genre.

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Thu Dec 28 2023
4

Not really my thing but I can tell it’s good if it’s your thing

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Fri Jan 12 2024
4

Well that was a nice surprise, never heard of them before. This is my kind of rock music, the kind that prefers being loud and aggressive and maybe a little sloppy, instead of sounding pristine and perfect. Love the singer's energy, fits it perfectly. Good entry. (Just looked and of course it has a 2.5 rating, you people suck)

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Sun Jan 14 2024
4

This was a hard one to find. I resorted to a youtube playlist that a fan had created in the end. At the start I was excited to what appeared to be a post hardcore band in the same vein as At The Drive In. Its not though. There's flashes of brilliance in here, but the album meanders around a bit, seemingly trying to find a direction. I wouldn't call it exceptional, but there's enough to get me to go check out what else they have done. On subsequent listens it gets better and I find myself liking it quite a lot.

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Mon Jan 22 2024
4

Unexpectedly enjoyable. It's on the right side of noise for me. A good wall of sound with melody still coming through. Very good album.

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