Label: Laissez Faire Club Records Release date: 05/04/10 Official Site CAUTION: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS HARSH LANGUAGE I’ve had enough of this goddamned vintage fetishism for fetishism’s sake. Look, the 1960s were incredible, as were the ‘70s, and those are important periods for music in more ways than one can count. BUT THOSE TIMES ARE OVER. Elvis is dead, Jerry’s dead, Jimi’s dead, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Genesis, good King Crimson, Frank Zappa, The Monks, and The Pretty Things are all dead. It’s one thing to use a sloppy garage rock sound because you respect and understand it (looking at you, John Dwyer, and I approve), and it’s another thing to emulate these periods in new and interesting ways (looking at you, Woods, and I approve), but this whole analog era blues thing…well, it’s a hot mess. Modern fuckery in the vein of the oh so mediocre Kings of Leon is never a way to go, nay it’s a hellish course through territory best left to old masters (both in the people and the tape sense). We get it, OK. Loud guitar riffs that you can sing along to are fun as fuck and can be used very well, but when it’s what you use for an entire song or when it sounds derivative and like some cheap imitation, it transcends music and a concept of musicality and instead becomes a veneer of self-serving vintage fetishism. Enter Ice Black Birds, a UK foursome who have led critics to say shit like “purveyors of indie-dance-blues” (Google this phrase to read that review – a counterpoint to this one’s vitriolic sentiments) who present two singles: Ears To The Ground and As Birds We’d Be Fine (henceforth known as the singles). Much like how it is physically impossible to lick your elbow, it is almost impossible to enjoy these singles. Where to begin now? The insipid lyrics, maybe? Pardon me for not analyzing too much here, but there isn’t much to look at. “I got you I got you with me. We’ve got this we’ve got this nighttime. Let’s go down let’s go down right now before you blow my mind,” shouts the chorus of ‘Doors’ leaving little to think about before crashing into an almost hilariously awful falsetto bridge full of indecipherable and pained howls that sound like a cat in heat being porked by a bull mastiff. Maybe ‘As Birds We’d Be Fine’ offers more…wait, it doesn’t. ‘The train it, it rumbles on by right through the night, but I don’t care ‘cause you’re right by my side,’ says the second verse using enough cliché here to kill a horse. Maybe the music redeems it…wait, some remedial arpeggio riffs, overuse of floor tom and rim clicks, palm muted chords, what is this shit? Kings Of Leon but even more dumbed down and somehow shittier? Every riff on every song sounds like something you’ve heard a few thousand times. ‘Heavy Independent Blues’ is barely a blues, muddling itself in a slow 6/8 Mobius strip full of more predictable noodling than I care to think about. Sure it picks up into a 16th note hat pattern and noisier chorus, but it still sounds like something I’ve heard enough to know by now. Also, that part only occurs once, so it might as well have been a full 6/8 blues that at least stuck to a nice 12-bar pattern. Even George Harrison’s completely unserious ‘For You Blue’ got the pattern right to the point where the song became good enough to be an A-side (and one of the better songs on Let It Be). Is it wrong to ask for a little more classic blues sound here? To have the want or need for something or anything like Muddy Waters or Robert Johnson seems more like a plea at this point. And for a band that so proudly and heavily touts its supposed blues sound (and ostensibly its blues pedigree), Ice Black Birds seem to rely more on passé pop pastiche, sticking to moves that align them with more generic things like wallpaper, furniture, and Bakelite. If Adrian Orange once said “Now it is all over like the birds,” then I can only hope these birds are over before too long. I feel like Ice Black Birds are the kind of band that can get fans just because of how damn generic and one key they are (despite how Black Keys they want to be). And I’m sure that this here review will draw at least a small bit of flak, but hey you know what – maybe this deserves to be looked at for what it really is. Or before even going that far, ask what you want. If you want Kings Of Leon minus a stable sounding voice, look no further. If you want any semblance of originality and substance, go to any artists mentioned here (minus Kings Of Leon). Blues is a genre about style, feel, and pure emotion, not predictability and an obvious amount of forced reactions. Abandon hope, all ye who listen. Iam penetro fossor professio. Photobucket