Ice Out (EP)

Ice Out

Independent release, 2019

http://iceout.bandcamp.com

REVIEW BY: Jason Warburg

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 04/23/2019

It should surprise no one reading this that I’m a words guy. Seems obvious, right? As a result, when it comes to songwriting, I’m frequently all about the lyrics.

Except.

Except when someone creates songs sufficiently evocative and rich with atmosphere that they manage to tell a story without words. That is its own special genre of music—the kind of music that Ice Out presents on this initial self-titled EP. The band is a duo made up of David Barker on guitars and synths and Chris Zogby on drums—analog drums—and synths, who play all the instruments and co-compose these four tracks.

The most logical point of comparison here is Explosions In The Sky, by way of White Stripes and other drum-guitar duos, but while Explosions tends to live up to its name with sometimes over-the-top musical pyrotechnics, Ice Out—also living up to its name—keeps things distinctly chill. Yes, the guitars get big and bold at times, but they never oversell, and Barker and Zogby always keep a tight focus on groove and melody. The music is spare and often haunting, with synths used strictly for background texture and atmosphere.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The above description may suggest the adjective “cinematic”—admittedly a cliché, but also on the nose. As these four tracks play, it’s hard not to imagine the scenes in the movie that they would underscore.

Opener “Winds” could be described as “surf Rush,” a song with distinct structure, even if it seems to be chorus-verse-chorus rather than the other way around. The “verses” have a cascading feel, punctuated by the airy, anthemic “chorus” chords that wouldn’t be out of place on 2112. “Winds” would play under the opening montage in an adventure thriller of some sort, tight and punchy and designed to get the blood flowing.

Thoughtful, exploratory second track “Stone” feels like the part of the movie where the protagonist goes off alone on a brief but essential journey of self-discovery before returning with that one piece of wisdom they needed to move their life forward. It also offers the most Explosions moment of this EP at the bridge, when the guitar goes all high and warbly for a couple of bars before abruptly dropping way down.

“1981” slows things down further, opening with eerie strums and single, echo-laden plucked notes ringing out over a looming synth. It’s the scene where two characters meet in the desert, neither entirely sure of the other’s intentions. There’s danger in the air throughout this sparse, brooding cut. Sequel “1982” offers another moody set-piece, this one with more animation and drive, feeling like the sequence where our protagonist is searching for someone on darkened city streets late at night, as the headlights gleam off of damp gutters.

Brief though it is at four songs and 16 minutes, Ice Out’s self-titled debut is captivating, offering a distinctly moody musical vision that fires the imagination and leaves you wanting more.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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