ICU’s lead singer, Pee Wee, (aka Perry Masco) has a vulnerable rawness in her voice that draws favorable comparisons to ’70s punk goddesses like Patti Smith and Penelope Houston. But bringing the vocal reference a little closer to the present, the person she really makes you misty for is the angry, mewling Courtney Love circa the days of Live Through This or even its predecessor, Pretty on the Inside . In that vein, the title song from Mad Truth , ICU’s third release, comes on like Hole’s “Jennifer’s Body” as an exceptional stand out among this group of soul-searching songs that explore the darkest, most personal subject matter as a route toward light. Chris Cornell once wrote the lyric “With an ounce of pain/I wield a ton of rage,” and it seems ICU have picked up that torch of pain and rage and decided to run with it. I say, Bravo! Consider a couplet from “Jerk/Liar” to be indicative of the group’s odyssey of self-transformation: “My day is sorrow/ A distant dream/ At night tomorrow/ Ain’t what it seems.” With interesting chord progressions and unexpected time changes in the songs, it appears ICU put some real thought into the arrangements as well. There are no part time punks in this band. ICU is the real deal.
Radical Records, 77 Bleeker Street, Suite C2-21, New York, NY 10012; http://www.radicalrecords.com