Like the band’s mythic namesake, the Icarus Line’s debut album, Mono, reeked of naïveté. It teetered between speed-fed screamo and erratic chugging, and the band assumed the more reckless it sounded, the badder-ass it seemed. Joe Cardamone’s yowls tore forth with a mania that made his throat blister and peel. His forlorn teenage poetry combined with a sensational but floundering sense of flight, and the Icarus Line wound up more foolhardy than butch.
On Penance Soiree, they channel sights lower. As in hell. Searing white light and scrappy vocals are replaced by the druggy stomping and weighty grooves of ’70s cosmic metal, yet the band’s alluringly youthful braggadocio remains. The skewed and voodooed rock ‘n’ roll of “Virgin Velcro” parades down a filthy catwalk as guitars squiggle and shock like eels darting around in giant steel tubs. Cardamone’s erotic intonations beckon you closer instead of screaming you into the rafters, especially on the Stones-ish, come-hither “Party the Baby Off.” But the album is loaded with frequency-fucking industrial grease and grime that begs to be licked, and anchored by a rhythm section that erupts through muddy earth. The nine-minute, spaced-out Zep-ic “Getting Bright at Night” is layered as intricately as Dante’s Inferno. Here’s to rocking out with a little more wind beneath those wings.