Monday, February 29, 2016

Trees Touch Skies

The Icicles “Trees Touch Skies” EP (Microindie)

After releasing an unusually dark, yet spectacular, album with 2012’s Renegade Parade (my #7 pick for best of 2012 – see here), the Icicles return with an EP that we were all hoping would be an LP.  Luckily, the wait for new music from them was worth it, as these new songs are all outstanding!  They’ve managed to capture the more nuanced and melancholy feel of Renegade, but with more of their previous pop song appeal.

The opening song, “Phrases,” has a guitar melody that sounds straight out of Will Sargeant’s cannon (Echo and the Bunnymen) best creations, and then we are welcomed by band leader Gretchen DeVault’s friendly voice and some fantastic backing vocal harmonies.  Then we go right into this collection’s title and highlight song, “Trees Touch Skies.”  I hate to pull out more comparisons, but this song sounds like a lost single from the Pale Saints’ amazing In Ribbons album. Another brilliant guitar lead from Rebecca Rodriguez, and beautiful keyboard washes make this uplifting song so memorable and stunning.  “Think About” arrives with a smooth shuffle beat, some creepy sounding keyboards and someone spurned and not yet ready to let go of the anger – reminding of the underrated Heart Throbs, until the unexpected trumpet solo near the song’s end.  The EP sort of concludes with the aggressive “Outside In,” which I would imagine could be a great show stopper in a live setting.

There is an additional demo included (“Steal the Covers”), as well as 
a radio broadcast with a brief band interview and the new songs played acoustically, which are very nice, but it’s the core four songs that have my hopes up for more new music on the horizon and forces me to recommend that you give this EP a listen.

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