Icy Demons

By - Jul 1st, 2008 02:52 pm
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By Kyle Shaffer

An open-door policy in a musical project seems is an obvious catalyst for experimentation. But when that collective implements an initiation process – involving alter egos – all your circuit-bent guitar pedals and Godspeed You Black Emperor! albums may not prepare you for what you’re about to experience. That’s the idea behind Icy Demons’ latest, Miami Ice, as the group challenges listeners to journey into poppy experimentalism as opposed to experimental pop.

Chris Powell (aka PowPow) and Griffin Rodriguez (aka Blue Hawaii) are the group’s founders, though no one really appears to be at the wheel of the project. A slew of guest artists, including Tortoise guitarist Jeff Parker, make up the supporting cast on this trippy, unpredictable release. Icy Demons hit their stride amidst quirky, repetitive melodies a la Broken Social Scene on “Spywatchers” and “1850,” making use of everything from cello riffs to vintage keyboard sounds. And while the title track hints at pop immediacy, the songs keep shifting in the neo-prog/jazz of opener “Buffalo Bill” and the lounge room sway of “Summer Samba”.

Were it not for the spacey time shifts and alien synth lines, Miami Ice might almost sound terrestrial. But this album may as well be the soundtrack to a robot-only sex party or Martians shooting up heroin. There’s certainly something to be said for the ingenuity and left-field antics that run amok on this release – it just may not be translatable in any earthly tongue.

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