Here’s a new one for the ever expanding, ever developing, genre book: technical pop-punk music. Yes, I can hear the groans. But, it’s true and very much applicable to Icarus The Owl. Blending the genres and evolving the progressive rock genre, Icarus The Owl bring the guitar tapping, time signature manipulating sounds of prog-rock and blend it with the harmonies and sing-alongs that make pop-punk irresistible.
Clocking in at the 41 minute mark, ‘Pilot Waves’ is the band’s shortest album run time to date. This, however, by no means prevents the band from crafting some vibrant and technically interesting pieces of music to grace their discography.
The crux of Icarus The Owl‘s sound is their ability to turn a song that has a lot going on, be it tapping guitars or an odd time signature shift, and turning it into a track that an audience can scream their lungs out to. Take ‘Dinosword’, probably the catchiest track of the record lyrically and vocally, but also a track that somehow manages to shoehorn a somewhat funky bridge section and acoustic guitar in. Even with the vast array of technique and multiple instrumentation, the chorus is still captivating; “There’s never been enough / There’s never been enough for me.”
And that’s the point, you feel, of Icarus The Owl. Progressive rock is a genre that many feel has an acquired taste. One that has to be sat down and invested a lot of time, whether it be to learn or to enjoy. But, for this band, and with ‘Pilot Waves’, it doesn’t have to be that way. I mean, why can’t a highly technical, complex guitar riddled song also have a catchy chorus?
‘Pilot Waves’, in a word, is interesting. It’s interesting because it tries something different. It’s interesting because it embodies a band and a sound that feels like it has been worked at and mastered. And, yet, after four albums, this probably won’t be the last we hear of this sound, hopefully.
Written by Calv Robinson (@CalvParty)