This album is very obviously strong from the first few seconds. Although this is the band’s fourth album, they treated this record like a debut in that it’s obvious these guys put everything they had into it. If they still had anything left to prove they definitely did it.
The opening track “The Mad Machine” is heavier than I’d expected so that set the tone that I clearly couldn’t know what to expect. There’s something particularly theatrical about the sound that Icarus have evolved over their career. It’s like I can see the live show playing out as I listen.
That fades into the second single, “I Am The DeLorean” which starts out with a really pop centered sound. Just the first few lines “Don’t play the victim/You won’t outrun them/Up towards the rafters the ghosts are following every move you make/They’re after all your secrets and all your skeletons…” will be stuck in your head immediately.
There are definite moments that bring me back to the early 2000’s Taking Back Sunday/Brand New era. This song is without a doubt one of those moments. Both in lyrical content and in the way the music feels.
By the time we get to “Prague, 1842” I feel like the tone for the album is set. The flawless mix of progressive rock and pop (just enough to make it catchy) flows throughout the entirety of “Pilot Waves”.
Tim and Joey playing guitar parts that bring everything from catchy pop riffs to “math rock” solos that soar to the sky.
Zach and Rob encompass a rhythm section that keeps you moving (somewhere between dancing and head banging).
The track “Peak and Valley Lines” is the closest thing to a ballad on the album. Expertly executed including haunting background vocals and a solid piano part that begins the build up to the powerful ending of the song.
“Pearls and Blue” is a very calm sounding track until the surprise that begins at minute 2. At that point it turns into an anthem that I can only compare in sound to Gatsby’s American Dream.
My personal favorite track is “Mantis”. There’s an unexpected feel of grunge-era music and a sense of urgency that lends to a powerful song that just can’t be ignored.
The album ends with the title track which begins with a minute of very soft guitar and some incredible lyrics/vocals by Joey Rubenstein. “What am I, What am I, What am I supposed to do?….” yet another bit of this record that will be stuck in your head for days to come. Screeching guitars lead to a finale that is unmatched so far this year.
“Pilot Waves” is a perfect mixture of so many different influences and sounds I couldn’t possibly describe them all. Take a listen for yourself below and buy the album HERE!
**Thumbnail Photo Credit to Sara Therese Photography