The Icicle Works

The Icicle Works

The Best of the Icicle Works

Beggars Banquet

My immediate reaction on finding this record in my mailbox was one of excitement and nostalgia. Upon reading the words “The Icicle Works,” the unmistakable rhythms and chiming guitars of their best-known hit (in the US, anyway), “Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream),” started sounding in my ears. If nothing else, that classic single can never be taken away from Ian McNabb and company — it’s three-and-three-quarters minutes of pure pop heaven.

The rest of The Best of the Icicle Works doesn’t really stand up to that one single, but the band did have plenty of other memorable moments, all of which are documented here. The rocking rabble rouser “Understanding Jane” is a stand out, as is the new wave-ish rocker “When it All Comes Down.” The grandiose melodramas “Little Girl Lost” and “Starry Blue Eyed Wonder” combine a poppy sheen with a pseudo-goth flavor (call it goth-lite, if that’s not an oxymoron), and are sure to capture your ears. While my attention does start to wander over the course of the collection’s 16 tracks, the band attempted such a diverse range of styles over the course of their career that before I can get bored, a new track kicks in and takes the record in a different direction.

Overall, this record is worth the price of admission, especially if you don’t already have “Birds Fly” on one of the innumerable ’80s comps it appears on. The package gets bonus points its detailed liner notes, with complete discography and McNabb’s commentary on each track. The Best of the Icicle Works is an interesting document on an intriguing band.

Beggars Banquet, 580 Broadway, Suite 1004, New York, NY 10012

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