If Steely Dan, Tortoise and a slew of other oddballs were to have a drunken, drug fueled evening of orgiastic escapades, then the offspring it would spawn would no doubt be something along the lines of Tears of a Clone, the sophomore release from Philly/Chicago based Icy Demons. Led by bassist/singer Griffin Rodriquez (Bablicon) and drummer Chris Powell (Man Man), Icy Demons has dropped on the world what is quite possibly this year’s most unlikely avant-pop gem.
Rodriquez’s voice contains a velvet menthol tonality adjacent to Icy Demon’s jazzy textures and post rock infusions, but unlike most of today’s post rock music, Icy Demons doesn’t run low on the gas too early or easily induce boredom at any time throughout the album’s duration. It throbs gently and manages to retain a solid groove on tracks like “The Only” and the delicately tango spiced “This is It.”
Rodriquez’s skill on the standup bass walks and talks in a way in which the phrase “cool, daddy-o” comes to mind, mixed with an Eno meets Syd Barrett meets DJ Shadow vibe at times. Other standout ditties include the fox-trotting samba, peppered with island spice, of “As it Comes,” and the jittery “Trial by Lasers,” set to the aura of some syrupy day-glo.
Tears of a Clone is masterfully sequenced as well. It makes the listener feel as if they’re on their way to somewhere skewed, not quite sure where, but definitely somewhere spaced out, because Icy Demons are like a band from another planet. In fact, they could have been playing in the lounge on Mos Eisley at the beginning of the first Star Wars (by first I mean Episode IV: A New Hope) where Hans Solo blew Greedo away. Such terms as “prog,” “experimental” and “jazz fusion” may be the first ones to hit the naked ear upon the first ten seconds of listening to the Icy Demons for the first time. And while such genres are embedded in their sound to some degree, this is a group that holds so much more which one would be hard pressed to put their finger on. Tears of a Clone‘s deliverance is sardonic enough to appeal to a slacker with ADD, yet deep enough for a beatnik to get into.