CD Review- The Icy Shores

8 Sep

Breakup albums are always, at the very least, a little unsettling. You are hearing about someone else’s life being scarred and irreversibly altered, while at the same time applying what you are hearing to your own life. It seems like stealing in a way, but then again these songs wouldn’t have been written if the writer wanted to keep these things from the public. The Opposite of Your Heart from Minneapolis’ The Icy Shores is such an album.

TOoYH falls in line with their first, altogether underrated effort, What You Get and How You Get It, with songs filled to the brim with shimmery, roiling guitars that explode into hook-filled, power chord choruses backed with lyrics that seem to be both documenting a break-up in near-real time and reflecting on said breakup at the same time. The immediacy of the lyrics and their power to at the same time cause the listener (or at least this listener) to feel the hurt of a years-ago rejection anew is quite a feat; but, make no mistake there is no mind-bending, “holy-shit-did-you hear-that?”-type alchemy going on here. This is simply sugar-free, indie power-pop done right (think Nada Surf and early Foo Fighters.) Songs that don’t exactly break new ground but are so extraordinarily well-crafted they don’t really have to be anything more than that. Lately in Minneapolis, it seems that everyone has some sort of a gimmick or a hook to get you to come to their shows, but hardly any of those gimmicks revolve around the songs themselves. In discussing an upcoming show the conversation always seems to turn to “Oh, they’re the band that…” and that sentence hardly ever ends with “has great, hook-filled, catchy songs.” In this era of one band after the next attempting to push the boundaries in one way or another, we forget that there’s a happy medium to be had and enjoyed immensely. The Opposite of Your Heart gives hope to the notion that bands in Minneapolis will get the songs right first and let the show come second. There’s definitely room for both, but if you build the songs around a stage show, sooner or later you’ll be playing to an empty room. So in breaking no boundaries, The Icy Shores have really essentially broken several and their injured souls deserve your attention.

-Pat O’Brien

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