Sep 2011 08

Twice a Man - Icicles
Twice a Man
Category: Electronica
Album: Icicles
Stars: 3
Blurb: An extremely pleasant but somewhat uneven mixture of ambient and synthpop that is sure to appeal to fans of classic new wave.

 

With 30 years and 16 albums worth of experience under their belt, Swedish act Twice a Man takes things in a new direction, channeling their history of ambient work into a slightly more pop oriented focus. While the more experimental style and classic synth leanings are readily apparent in Icicles, at times resembling classic work from both Gary Numan and Psychic TV, the synthpop elements give the album a more accessible and modern feel. However, though this mixing of styles does offer a unique and interesting presentation, it also occasionally presents a few structural problems that may make the album a little harder to digest.

Showing these structural issues from the start, throughout the opening track, “A Letter,” it feels like Twice a Man is building up to something, but the reveal never happens and the track just fades out in unsatisfying whimper. The problems continue with “Everything is Possible,” which is a somewhat repetitive and uninteresting track with vocals that feel like more of an afterthought slapped on top. Thankfully, things begin to lookup with “Wandering,” as the tracks start to feel less like a constant stream of bridges to nowhere and instead begin to incorporate some memorable choruses, with a half ambient, half synthpop mixture that results in a sound that one second will remind the listener of avant-garde acts like Psychic TV, and the next feel more like new wave acts such as Soft Cell. The are even the mellow and lovely ballads “Tranquil Moonlit Lake” and “Fearless in the Rain” that hit a vibe similar to the classic Gary Numan track “Please Push No More” with their melancholy vocals, sweet piano melodies and subtle incorporation of electronics.

Icicles is an exceptionally admirable mixing of genres, but its resulting flavor doesn’t quite come out as expected and may take some getting used to. Though it does walk the line between synthpop and ambient work, the song structure is unlikely to be appealing to sythpop fans due to its lack of strong hooks or steady beat and fans of ambient music may find the album to be a bit too sugary and vocal heavy to meet their expectations. However, even though it may throw off fans of both genres it draws from, Icicles strangely seems like a perfect fit for fans of ‘80s new wave acts, but doesn’t at all feel like a throwback or rehash of the work of that decade.
 
Track list:

  1. A Letter
  2. Everything is Possible
  3. Wandering
  4. Walls
  5. Tranquil Moonlit Lake
  6. Follow a Simple Path
  7. Something Else
  8. Where Are You Now?
  9. Fearless in the Rain
  10. Moon

 
Twice a Man Website http://www.twiceaman.com
Twice a Man MySpace http://www.myspace.com/twiceaman
Xenophone International
 
Purchase at…
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
 
2010-04-30
 
Trubie Turner (Flexei)

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