YAARN • The Wild Redemption of The Icarus Line

The Wild Redemption of The Icarus Line

Welcome to Wildlife…

The Icarus Line should, by all accounts, be dead and buried by now; the fallouts, the trauma, the broken record deals and the empty promises should have felled the band years ago.

However, Joe Cardamone, a man with an Iggy dance and a velvet soul, is still clinging to the greasy pole of dirty rock n roll dreams and has no plans of letting go.

Wildlife, the band’s latest album, which is released later this month via Cobraside-distributed Roar Scratch Records, is redemption in lacquered form; a collection of blood, sweat and fears crafted in a shady suburb of the city of angels.

The record was originally titled Joe Cardamone vs The Icarus Line, a result of years of feuding and fighting and fucking around. It was recorded by Cardamone himself in his own studio – affectionately known as Gangbang Park Studios – amidst heartbreak and hard work.

The question is whether Cardamone can breathe life into his American dream and (re)convince the world that it needs the insolence and narcissism of The Icarus Line in a world filled with banal blog bands and bands that don’t matter.

This year also marks the tenth anniversary of the release of Mono, The Icarus Line’s snarling debut that saw Cardamone and his gang (including Aaron North) crash and bang into relevance.

When they first surfaced, they brought a sense of urgency and danger, an immediate riposte to the louche cool of The $trokes. They came as a gang with a reputable record collection and a dangerous and destructive stage show. They played hard and partied harder (my first encounter with them was in a Butlins-esque seaside chalet where they couldn’t stand straight after a show in Amsterdam).

The band, however, are no longer the youthful hellraisers that they used to be. The punk spit of Feed A Cat To Your Cobra has been replaced with a Beggars Banquet-era Stones-influence (as highlighted by the soft blues stomp of tracks including It’s Alright and Sin Man Sick Blues) and The Birthday Party scrawl of Love Is Happiness has been replaced with a more melodic and measured Cardamone… But, ultimately, it’s all part of the same story; one man’s mission to write, fuck, sing, bleed, share, dance and entertain.

The feud between Cardamone and North, who left the band in 2004 to join Nine Inch Nails, has also cooled; the pair have subsequently patched up some of their differences and there is a rumour that a documentary about the band – following both Cardamone and North – is being prepared by mutual friend Travis Keller, founder of Buddyhead (think Dig! with a happy ending).

Can a band be redeemed and reload in our post-post internet world? Can a record such as Wildlife, with its crooning honesty, give The Icarus Line back their place in the game? I, fucking, hope so.