ARTIST: The Icicle Works
TITLE: The Icicle Works
YEAR RELEASED: 1984
CHART ACTION: #40 US, #24 UK
SINGLES: Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream) (#37 US, #18 Mainstream, #53 UK, #2 UK Indie), Love Is a Wonderful Colour (#15 UK),
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Not really
LINEUP: Ian McNabb, Chris Layhe, Chris Sharrock
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: First album from the arty-and-jangly UK band that delivered hits on both sides of the Atlantic.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Here in the States, the first few ringing lines of “Whisper to a Scream (Birds Fly)” (yes, Arista retitled it) evokes memories of MTV and how it was possible for something so obscure and so…British could hit the Top 40.
The album, which also included their bigger UK hit “Love Is a Wonderful Colour”, has some of those jangly elements, but also a richer, fuller sound with more production elements filling out the sound. The Icicle Works was more of an arty band upon revelation, instead of a jangle pop band.
While Ian McNabb’s songs can sometimes be ponderous, brooding, and overly serious, the entire record has a whole is somewhat satisfying, as the promise of their early singles comes to fruition at times.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Yes, Arista changed the name of the band (to just Icicle Works), altered the single’s title (swapping the parens around), and edited out a portion of their US hit. For the album, they swapped out a song, and changed the cover. And it’s not streaming, probably because of Arista.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, with rarities and remixes
GRADE B: They may have had a better chance in the US had the company followed up with a second single, or at least some support. Anyway, this is better than I thought, though a bit too pretentious at times.