[25 September 2008]
The Icy Demons are a project from Man Man’s Christopher Powell and Gabriel Rodriguez from Bablicon. Powell handles the drums while Rodriguez plays bass and sings. The rest of the band rotates regularly, but members always take goofy code names while in the group. Hence, Rodriguez becomes Blue Hawaii while Powell is Pow Pow, and the Miami Ice cast is rounded out by Ta Freak Ya, Il Cativo, and Ali Hawkbar. And there are a host of guest musicians contributing anything from saxophone to cello to upright bass to fill out the sound on songs.
Miami Ice is such a kitchen sink-collection of musical styles and sounds that it doesn’t feel anything like a cohesive album. Occasional, stubborn bouts of what feels like weirdness for its own sake sink several of the songs on this album. “1850” suffers from a bizarre falsetto midsection. “Jantar Mantar” drags on for too long, and album closer “Crittin’ Down to Baba’s” is a groovin’ tune undermined by really silly lyrics. But when the band focuses on pop hooks, the songs start to click. The title track is driven by a catchy distorted keyboard riff and an infectious vocal melody, while “Spywatchers” has an effective spy movie bassline, driving drums, and uses a vintage synthesizer sound to great effect. These songs, along with “Summer Samba” and “Centurion”, give a glimpse to what Miami Ice could’ve been had the Icy Demons taken the contrived weirdness down a notch.