The Icarus Line have spent a decade and change mastering that energy, manifesting via retina-scarring, pulse-quickening live performances ever on the edge of total collapse and often tumbling into brilliance, via well-publicised pranks at the expense of corporate rock’s sacred cows and – most potently – via four albums of sleek, sulphurous punk-rock that stoked their rage into a righteous, seductive party.
Slave Vows, their fifth album, is also their best yet. The Stoogian roar of a band that refuses to die, it captures Cardamone and his charges at their most alive, across songs that slither, lash and rise into venomous crescendos, dark and heroic and seductive and seething. Recorded at Cardamone’s own Valley Recording Company studio in Burbank, California, it distils The Icarus Line’s past, present and future into 8 tracks and 45 minutes of profoundly uncompromised rock’n’roll hurtling from the malevolent glower of opener ‘Dark Circles’, to the slow, corrosive ooze of ‘Marathon Man’, to the savage explosion of ‘Dead Body’, to the Sabbath-plays-Funkadelic writhe of ‘Rat’s Ass’.
Whether you know it yet or not, you need Slave Vows in your life. A masterpiece of wracked, sordid and vital rock’n’roll, it’s the sound of a spirit that won’t be extinguished – the sound of four young men channelling their darkest, most honest selves and letting loose a righteous, decadent wave of noise that’ll blow the lightweight, inconsequential indie-rock and opportunist pop out of your life forever. This isn’t an album you simply listen to; it’s an album you bow down and pledge allegiance to, a statement of no-bullshit resistance, the latest and greatest statement from a group who never met a bridge they didn’t wanna burn.