Monday, May 23, 2016

NO ICE, Come On Feel the NO ICE, 2016

Album Review

Several months ago, I drove up to Hoboken to see Dentist and Overlake at Maxwell's Tavern. Also on that bill were Brooklyn's NO ICE (sometimes pronounced "noice," according to the band's bio). NO ICE frontman, Jamie Frey, and I have a bit of a connection. A few years ago, I got a terrible case of the flu on the night I was to go see Neutral Milk Hotel in Jersey City. Through our mutual friend, Jim Testa, Jamie ended up using my tickets and wrote a review for Jersey Beat. I'd also seen Jamie perform with his other band, The Brooklyn What, as part of The Everymen's final Maxwell's show back in 2013.

Based on that history, Jamie and I struck up a conversation following NO ICE's set at Maxwell's Tavern. "Sounds like you guys like a lot of the same music I do," I said.

I'm not sure if he'd made the connection between CoolDad Music and me, but Jamie's response was something along the lines of, "Yeah. When people ask, I like to say we play cool dad music."

NO ICE's debut LP, Come On Feel the NO ICE, sounds a lot like this cooldad's teen years and young adulthood. At the time, I had my feet in both the classic rock of my youth and more modern alternative and indie rock. The Who, Bruce Springsteen, Van Morrison, R.E.M., The Replacements, The Smiths, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Lemonheads, Pixies, Dinosaur Jr., My Bloody Valentine. I'd switch among those bands without a thought. Come On Feel the NO ICE is kind of like that.

Opener "The Cemetery" is straight-up Jesus and Mary Chain, chugging guitars, reverb, and "doo doo doos" from Frey and vocalist Gwynn Galitzer. Things change on the swaying, easygoing, country-influenced "Summer Bummer." The song sits somewhere between classic rock and something like Yo La Tengo's quieter moments. "Darlin'" is noisier, more shoegaze-y. And, in the space of the first three songs, we've covered a series of influences that come together in the stew of indie rock.

It keeps going. There's the garage rock of "Leave Her Alone" and the girl group, doo wop of "We Get High Together." The early punk rock of "Out with the Brats." The 90s noise rock of "Guitar." The outlaw country of "Eat This Heart (Winter Version)." The 50s via the 70s production number of Leonard Cohen cover, "Memories."

It sounds like a mess, doesn't it? Well, it is kind of a mess, but in the same way the thoughts that roll around in your -- and I'm thinking, Jamie Frey's -- head are a mess. Frey and NO ICE use whatever sounds are handy or appropriate for the story they're trying to tell, whether it's resignation over the idea that all good things come to an end or being in love with a guitar. That results in a messy, genre-defying collection of songs that make it hard to classify NO ICE.

Let's just say that NO ICE are a rock and roll band. That means they make music that sounds like the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s, and 10s. That means they write songs about finding love, losing love, drinking, and getting high. That means they're standing on the shoulders of those who came before. They're cribbing, and they're paying homage as they tell their own stories. In that way, the disparate collection of rock and roll songs on Come On Feel the NO ICE hangs together in the same way that the disparate thoughts in someone's head hang together to make a whole person. It's also just fun. Especially for a cooldad who's lived through five of the decades on that list above.

Come On Feel the NO ICE got the Mama Coco's Funky Kitchen treatment from producer Oliver Ignatius and is available now at NO ICE's Bandcamp page.

[Note: There's a line in the band's bio that says, "The title is a tribute to the 1993 album Come On Feel The Lemonheads by The Lemonheads." So, if your thoughts drifted to Slade or Quiet Riot, I guess you were wrong.]

No comments :

Post a Comment