Science Of Sound Records, 2012
REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/13/2012
Ever hear a record and instantly feel that you want to meet the songwriter just to see what he or she is like? Since the music and words that they have penned are so unusual, so distinct, that meeting the author face to face could help you better understand just how this music originated? That’s kind of how I feel about Nick Whetro, the brainchild behind Icarus Himself. Whetro’s brand of minimal and repetitive eletro-psych folk is an odd endeavor, and he has released a disc that is seemingly as random in sound as the cover art.
Though the disc has a theme, it’s hard to tell unless you follow really closely. The storyline is a man who is tired of working class monotony and flees elsewhere in search of a better existence. Along the way he stumbles upon love. To convey this story, Whetro and company (he has just now added two band members) offer a variety of sounds, from sparse and wispy to quick bursts of energy, while the vocals range from hushed to soaked in reverb.
The disc opens with “Wake Up,” a quietly plucked indie-lite tune that sets the foundation for the introspective and often melancholic overtones that remain constant until the end. It’s not all calm, though. Songs like “MCO” and “Anywhere You Go” turn the volume up, emitting a more raw version of Icarus Himself and serves to add new dimensions to the listen. Probably the most straightforward tune, “On Your Side” is an all-out love song about a woman our hero would marry, complete with hazy synth and cyclic drum looping.
Career Culture is a pensive listen that can mirror the greatness of Holopaw yet also channels the experimentalism of The Velvet Underground. Anyone with an eye toward atypical, compelling and often lo-fi song craft should take some time with this.