Rock fans search for a new band to kick-start their lives by casting fishing lines into the pop-culture abyss. Rarely does one bite that's worth taking seriously, and only once every five to ten years does one hit, pulling fans into the depths of reality for a rush that seems to simultaneously quicken and surpass all others.
So it's particularly unnerving when a young band grows tired of waiting for fans and attempts to pass off its man-child worship of the rock lifestyle as the real deal. The Strokes' idolatry for the Velvets is unprecedented, but the Icarus Line is a Stooges rip-off perfect for sale as a crassly, albeit less extravagantly, hyped second coming of down-and-out excess.
An appropriately ominous bass line of doom and screeching effects open up the skies on Penance Soiree's "Up Against the Wall Motherfuckers" as fetching singer Joe Cardamone summons a bluesy Marilyn Manson, but the results muster all the Funhouse fear and attitude of black-clad smokers in a high school restroom. "Spit on It" follows with its awfully muddled faux-Albini production, the vocals rendering an uncanny Ozzfest cover of Mando Diao's "Sheepdog." Worse still is the Icarus Line's banal guitar playing, the lowlight being "Kiss Like Lizards," which escalates in forced gloom like early Stone Temple Pilots before jettisoning into a paltry solo that might as well be an inside joke.
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Such middling output is surprising given how seriously the Icarus Line takes itself and its mission to not suck. But for all the Beavis-like industry shit-talking being spewed from both the band and the Buddyhead brand surrounding it, it will appeal to more fans of Benji than Iggy.