Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The end of the Line

The last I heard of The Icarus Line, it was 2015 and they had put out All Things Under Heaven - an attempt to repeat the trick of 2013's savage LP Slave Vows that was always doomed to failure. If Slave Vows appeared to herald a rebirth after a couple of so-so albums (Black Lives At The Golden Coast and Wildlife), and harked back to the in-the-red intensity of their magnum opus, 2004's Penance Soiree, then All Things Under Heaven saw Joe Cardamone's bunch of LA outlaws sadly stall again.

It turns out that singer Cardamone dissolved the band at the end of 2015, after a disillusioning tour in support of former Stone Temple Pilots man Scott Weiland that was overshadowed by the absence of guitarist and founding member Alvin DeGuzman through cancer. DeGuzman died in October, with Cardamone - whose lyrics are often bitter, vicious, sleazy and cynical - moved to write a heartfelt tribute to his friend.

After splitting up The Icarus Line, Cardamone decided to go it alone, and spent much of 2016 working on tracks for a project he's called Holy War. 'New Cross' appeared last year, and is quite something: its in-your-face, aggressive nature is familiar, but the embrace of electronics, the butchering of pop and the use of rap (yes, really) is entirely new, like EMA on PCP. I'm not necessarily sure I actually like it - but it certainly forces you into a reaction of some kind.

Cardamone spent the autumn touring with Mark Lanegan, which must have made for an interesting bill: as an elder statesman of alt-rock, the gravel-throated ex-Screaming Trees man has a much less confrontational approach, and while he too has shown signs of becoming increasingly comfortable with electronics, the results showcased on Gargoyle are infinitely more mild mannered than 'New Cross'.

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