Why do you have to be so confrontational? – Guy Garvey 2003
From 2002 to 2004 I fronted “Icons of Poundland”, we started as a solo electronic/noise demo, and evolved from a one-off gig as “Icons of Uncool” to be one of Manchester’s most awkwardly noisy bands at the turn of the century. The lineup included ex Loafer bandmates Kester Jones (guitar, vocals, organ) and Alex Timewell (bass) as well as Polythene/Snakes/Fall drummer Kate Themen.
A review of the album by Adam Farrer from “This is not TV” – 2003…
“Nothing But Love And Good Vibes”, fattened by a full band sound since its solo noisenik incarnation on their debut, jerks and spits like The Clash sodomising “Lust For Life”. “Stole My Smile” is the sound of bones being broken with a Soda Stream whilst “An Infestation You Can’t Clear” is Tom Waits tossing “Fiddler on the Roof” albums into a cement mixer, and that is just your first three tracks.
In the majority “Icons…” is an album designed to scream and unburden its spite for your listening pleasure but it is not without its more tender, palette cleansing moments. The emotionally wrenching likes of “Pissing All Over My Dreams” and “Safe and Warm” hit home with an emotional impact born of discordance and vulnerable cacophony, both barely uttered murmurs of eloquent discontent, whilst the sinister crumbling lounge howl of “Icon Of The Cool” slinks, gradually, under your skin and settles in.
This record is in no way an easy ride, on top of the challenging onslaught of the music itself the whole album is drenched in a production technique that fizzes and burbles with all the
lo-fi glory of a teenager compiling a C90 mix tape, though for £1 you were hardly going to get perfection. A nation still gripped by the wonder of seemingly production free New Yoik punk, however, shouldn’t have a great deal of trouble pulling the gems from this white noise, should the band get their well deserved chance at mainstream acceptance.
These songs don’t come across as having been written, they seem instead to have been ripped from some ferocious source and battered into ragged form, Julian especially coming on like a conduit for this source. At times the band seem to be controlling this sound rather than crafting it, the vocals torn, glancing against the melody, the guitars bullish and fiery, kicking and fighting. There is an energy and urgency on display here that you are rarely likely to stumble upon in a lifetime’s worth of music loving and if you are lucky enough to come across this band, this music, these songs then you will be a richer person for it. I certainly am, not least because it has brought me some small relief from my usual snide role of pious, opinionated twat!