[14 July 2009]
Ice Palace’s second album is utterly unremarkable. This is an album that rocks, but not too hard. It’s catchy, but not to the point where the songs stay with you. Singer/guitarist Adam Sorenson’s voice is a bit scratchy, but it’s not gruff or particularly distinctive. Occasional trumpet lines give the songs a bit of extra character, but only a bit. Which isn’t to imply that Wonder Subtly Crushing Us is a bad album, because it’s not. It’s perfectly competent. Ice Palace makes listenable music that fades into the background almost immediately. A case in point is “Pirate by Thirty”, which has a memorable line, “If you’re not a pirate by thirty then you never will be” near the beginning. But the focus of the lyrics moves along so quickly that you forget you’re listening to the same song by the end. And it’s only 2:40 long. There is variety to be found here, like the slightly country-influenced “Lily” and “Coliseum”, and the plaintive, organ-backed balled “Slow Motion Fall”. But the variety doesn’t make up for the lack of distinctive songwriting, and unfortunately the most memorable thing about Wonder Subtly Crushing Us might be that it’s completely forgettable.