The Icarus Line - Penance Soiree (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Icarus Line

Penance Soiree (2004)

V2 Records

I just can't seem to find a stereo loud enough to play this CD correctly. Every time I get the player to full blast, I feel like I need to keep clicking it up a few notches.

With their second full length album, The Icarus Line delivers almost a full hour of gritty guitars, distorted bass, pounding drums, and howling vocals through thirteen tracks cultivated in the original glory of rock n' roll. While the influence of The Stooges blatantly shines through, comparisons to contemporaries like Spiritualized and Queens of the Stone Age could also be made.

Stand out tracks include the grinding "Spit On It," the three song epic "Kiss Like Lizards/Getting Bright At Night/Big Sleep," and the swaggering "White Devil." As soon as the first chord of "Spit On It" explodes from the speakers, you know you have a rocker on your hands. This song makes distorted microphones cool again while restoring your faith in screaming guitar lines. "Kiss Like Lizards" starts out with a 3/4 riff jam session, builds into a rock out noise session, then drops tempo to fade slowly into "Getting Bright At Night." As part two in a three song saga, this nine minute song starts out as a slow bass line until it begins to build with the floor time and the repetition "I won't fall in love anymore." It continues to build for six more minutes until the drums fall out into a climbing bridge, when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, it explodes into heavy bass riffs, heavier drums, and spaced out guitars, ending with the repetition of "Never give up on me, baby" until it drops into a feedback from the guitar, and kicks into "Big Sleep." Taking cues from "Getting Bright At Night," the steady, heavy tom rhythm comes in and builds until it breaks into a drum beat that reminds me of the intro to The Who's "Baba O'Reilly." The rest of the song continues to rock until it eats your face. After the first break in music for twenty straight minutes, "White Devil" rips right into a blues-y swagger, complete with wailing saxophone solo.

The near flawless production only polishes the layered song writing. The distinctive fuzz on "Party The Baby Off" tweaks out the track, while the reverb on "White Devil" pushes the spaced out, drugged up swagger that permeates the speakers.

This album leaves you wanting more and wanting it louder. An instant classic. The future of true rock and roll may just lie in the hands of The Icarus Line.