Flying High and Falling
Hard-rocking Californians The Icarus Line have been around for over a decade, releasing loud, bombastic tunes in the face of squabbles with record labels and within the group itself. Originally called Joe Cardamone vs. The Icarus Line, new record Wildlife seems to be just what that working title implies. It’s almost a solo project written, produced, and engineered by singer Joe Cardamone in his own studio, released by his own Roar Scratch label. This new record is also different from its predecessors in that it has a little more danger, a little more lust and fire.
Opening song “King Baby” starts off with ethereal electronic effects bordering on the creepy, before charging ahead into a percussive dance beat with droning vocals and a delightful synth hook. Cardamone steers The Icarus Line in a more bluesy direction than ever before with “It’s Alright.” Spanish guitars and an ominous bass give it the feel of a wild west showdown, tumbleweeds and spurs and all. Low, rocking guitars and stomping percussion crash in, accentuated by tinkling blues piano as the tempo increases to a frenzy. “Like a Scab” shows off the band’s blues influences as well, emerging from a smattering of funky effects with a soulful, wailing harmonica.
This is work that’s raw and full of energy. The problem with Wildlife, though, is exactly what gives it an air of burning authenticity. It may be a more passionate, down-home record created without (much) interference from the commercial music industry, but it also feels unfinished. Tracks like the funky “Soul Slave” would really show off The Icarus Line’s talent with a little more polish. Yet in the end, Wildlife is a testament to whatever rock and roll spirit is left in this day and age. It’s in your face, it’s loud, and it’s completely unashamed.