EP Review: Ice Baths – 'Decadent Sprinter'
Another mighty band to get your ears around.
Ice Baths are a band that sound as if they play music for themselves and don’t really mind if anyone else likes or gets it. Luckily, for anyone with good taste and a passion for guitar music, you will love Decadent Sprinter.
This is a band that who appreciate and explore atmosphere, feeling and dynamics within the constructs of the ‘pop’ song. You could even call it post rock at times. The vocals don’t strain anything beyond a deep mumble, similar to David Gedge of The Wedding Present. Combine that with the driving drone of the drums and rhythm section, Ice Baths sound like latter day Wire. But even this comparison is a stretch. Decadent Sprinter is a unique piece of work.
Brace yourselves as ‘Auster’ kicks things off with its classic dissonant post-punk drone. The guitars and drums chime and crash together like machine gun fire on a church. This is not a song for those with a sensitive disposition. ‘Marlowe’ is just as intense, combining a soft and melodic high-note arpeggic riff with chugging palm muted powerchords. This is like Fontaines carrying out an exorcism. Beginning with a quirky Gang of Four style riff, ‘Clusters’ may be the catchiest and radio-friendly song on the EP. But no one wants that, and Ice Baths make sure they keep everything off-kilter with more angular riffing and droning. ‘Simulation’ closes the EP. It’s built around another clean and jangly riff. This time, in true Ice Baths fashion, it’s familiar and melodic, yet weird and jagged.
It’s also worth pointing out that there are two interlude tracks: ‘(empathy warning)’ and ‘(desperate disappointment)’. They are atmospheric swellings of noise that, again, sound uncomfortable yet familiar. Decadent Sprinter is an EP you listen to from start to finish, as you would watch a film, the tracks flow into one another. It’s interesting to say the least. It’s one of the few records that will allow you to sit down and enjoy yet leave you on the edge of your seat.
Words by Matthew Brocklehurst