The Icarus Line - Penance Soiree

Album: Penance Soiree
Artist: The Icarus Line
Released: 2004
Rating: 4/5

The opening song on this album is called "Up Against The Wall Motherfucker". At this point you should already be somewhat aware of whether or not this album is for you. This is the Icarus Line's second album, but before even releasing any music, they already had a large reputation built on insane on-stage antics that got them banned from many venues. They worship at the temples of The Stooges and The Jesus And Mary Chain. Even if they had never released so much as one single, they would probably have gained a cult following just for their reputation alone.

They've decided to release music, though, which brings us to Penance Soiree. PS is a nasty, grimy, fun, wreck of an album. Lead singer Joe Cardamone lives up to his name and really leads the album, screaming his head off like a deranged maniac about the two topics of this album: sex and drugs. The Icarus Line are not attempting to be deep, instead, they just want to get wasted, make some noise, and possibly get laid. Cardamore possesses a sneer resembling that of Iggy Pop (young Ig) or Darby Crash, which perfectly suits the music.

The music is stupid, loud and great. The drumming is mostly caveman-style bashing throughout, nothing complicated, but it certainly is satisfying. The bass (when it's audible) can either be really funky, like in "Up Against The Wall Motherfuckers", or it can just do simple chugs for the droney-er tracks. The guitars can switch between nasty, abrasive, scrapes that sound like they came from old Gang of Four or Big Black records and sweet, shoegaze inspired drones.

The problem with Penance Soiree is that the record contains some unnecessary filler that slows the record down during it's middle third. The album picks up again at the end, but it's momentum has been severely damaged by the weak tracks.

An entertaining album worth checking out for fans of noise rock, shoegaze, post-punk, or just plain good rock.

Highlights: "Up Against The Wall Motherfuckers", "Getting Bright At Night", "Seasick", "Party The Baby Off"