NO ICE, Come On, Feel the NO ICE (released 5/2016)
You think you give a shit about rock and roll, and that’s cute and all, but NO ICE frontman and songwriter Jamie Frey has you so snowed it’s embarrassing. He’s that pack of Marlboro Reds rolled up in the sleeve of your Replacements t-shirt. He’s the bandanna in Springsteen’s back pocket.
When he writes, the well he draws from is deep, his bucket huge. His band is having the time of their life. Come On, Feel the NO ICE is a true rock and roll record that could serve as a gateway to so many moments in pop history. The vocal inflections on “The Cemetery” blend Lou Reed and Jim Reid. “Darlin’” mixes Evan Dando’s longing with Archers of Loaf’s turnarounds. He shreds his voice on “Leave Her Alone” like Levi Stubbs fronting a country band. “I Want You” brings that Dinosaur Jr. moment you had to expect by now, then “We Get High Together” drags “Going to the Chapel” kicking and screaming through Elvis Costello and the Attractions. But then, “Summer Bummer” is squarely his own. It’s beautiful, and I wish it were mine. Every song sets its own mood, and they flow together like an immaculately curated mixtape.
Halfway through (Is NO ICE committing this to vinyl? Are they planning to put these as last-track-Side A and first-track-Side B? Let’s cross our fingers.*) “Change Your Mind” begins with “Tell the truth/Am I hanging around like a rotten tooth in your mouth?” which I’m presently nominating for Best Opening Line in a Song, All Formats. The vocal harmonies, which are provided across the album by Gwynn Galitzer, play perfectly here. And that’s fun and all, but that means it’s probably time for a rager, yeah? “Out With the Brats” is the careening, off-the-rails, shout-along party jam to follow it up. Actually, it sounds like The Jam, if you made Paul Weller admit that Thin Lizzy was also a valid mode of expression.
On the back end of this thing, “Guitar” fittingly gives the album its soaring, noisy guitar freak-out moment, and the Leonard Cohen cover “Memories” is perhaps the perfect encapsulation of the album’s greatest strengths: like Cohen’s young punk lover, Come on, Feel the NO ICE is irreverent, hilarious, occasionally leering, and swinging for the fences.
Find it here:
*EDITOR'S NOTE: Brooklyn label Reheated Spaghetti has committed to releasing Come On, Feel the NO ICE on vinyl. More to come!