No Handle

No Handle

by Icewater ScandalIcewater Scandal


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Picking up where their self-titled EP (recorded as AM Radio) left off, Icewater Scandal's No Handle delivers a more confident and versatile version of their lanky experimental rock. The band make a bold move in opening and closing the album with their two most challenging tracks: "Klat" is high-strung and angular, recalling a more elongated Erase Errata or Sonic Youth (along with the Dream Syndicate and Dead C references); the fact that Lee Ranaldo mixed and recorded No Handle underscores the connections between that band and Icewater Scandal's approaches (or at least makes them easier to hear). The pretty finale, "See Saw," meanwhile, tops out at 18 and a half minutes -- much like the epic closing track of AM Radio, "Beezwax." The track picks up speed as it goes along, and over the course of its length cycles between being just repetitive and fascinating. In between, Icewater Scandal tackle slightly more accessible territory, like "Muddy Blue," which, with its wobbly rhythms, chiming guitars, and absurdist lyrics, comes close to approximating the sound of Pavement with a female singer instead of Stephen Malkmus. Andrea Hansen deserves special mention as the glue that helps hold all of No Handle's twists and turns together; she's a surprisingly versatile singer, able to switch from fierce to alluring to contemplative in an eye blink. For the most part, the band make their jammier-sounding music interesting throughout, particularly on the near stoner rock of "Shiny Gold," but at other times it seems that Icewater Scandal should either do more with their expansive style or cut their songs short. As enjoyable as "Banana Ssplat" is, it probably didn't need to be over nine minutes long. Nevertheless, No Handle does flesh out Icewater Scandal's sound impressively, mixing brains and brawn into a sound that is both catchy and complex.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/06/2004
Label: The Social Registry
UPC: 0656605945927
catalogNumber: 4
Rank: 157621

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