Bands in the Blue Swan Records family tend to have prerequisite characteristics. Led by Dance Gavin Dance mastermind Will Swan, you can usually expect highly technical musicianship, non-standard song structures, varied time signatures and infectious vocals. Album opener ‘The Mad Machine’ is enough to prove that Icarus the Owl fit right in.
Instrumentally this album is full of technical guitar work, weaving tapped guitar lines with cleverly structured chords, amidst the ever-changing tempos and time signatures provided by the rhythm section. When combined with the cleverly arranged vocals, ‘Pilot Waves’s sound is distinctive and infectious.
Joey Rubenstein’s vocals do a fine job of bringing everything to life. His voice rests somewhere between Lower Definition’s Matt Geise and Casey Crescenzo of The Dear Hunter, but more impressive than the excellent tone is the way the vocal parts are arranged. On first listen this can be challenging to the ear as the melodies are unconventionally structured, but alongside the lyrics and with repeated listens, they become infectious and memorable.
’Pilot Waves’ is a triumph of melodic structure and instrumental intricacy and adds even more strength to Blue Swan Records roster.
‘Pilot Waves’ by Icarus the Owl is out now on Blue Swan Records.
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Words by Mark Johnson (@Testwood)