Test Icicles - For Screening Purposes Only
Release Date: January 24, 2006
Record Label: Domino Records
We are taught at a young age not to judge a book by its cover. Thus, as music fans, we should translate that rule to mean that we should not judge a band by its name. To do so would be to cause Test Icicles, a sophomoric but nonetheless humorous name, a grave injustice and ourselves an outrageous disservice.
The United Kingdom group draws many comparisons at first. Vocalist Sam Merrann belts and wails vocals in a manner undeniably resembling that of Johnny Whitney of the Blood Brothers. When strained they are reminiscent of the most delicately stretched whines from Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Organ pieces on songs such as “Pull the Lever” recall some tracks by Cursive. But For Screening Purposes Only excels not in mocking the strengths of others, but rather by blending them harmoniously throughout the disc.
“Your Biggest Mistake” leads off the disc with a grinding and trashing post-hardcore sound sure to intimidate the more timid of listeners. The team breaks out a melodic side for “Pull the Lever,” the first indication of the greatness that is to be on For Screening Purposes Only. Singles “Boa vs. Python” and “Circle Square Triangle” boast a different host of dance beat from that of LCD Soundsystem or another of your typical scene danceable bands; these tracks pit streaky and ill-tempered guitars against one another in flashes of instrumental brilliance. The latter’s simple cymbal introductory toe-tapping inducing rhythm, however, manages to add as much to the song as do any of the wailing guitars. “Maintain the Focus” returns to what has become familiar ground for the disc in that Merran’s singing manages even to emulate the sound of Bloc Party’s belts on Silent Alarm. However, yet again Test Icicles pulls off the feat of taking what other groups do a shade better and equaling the previous efforts by meshing such pieces with bits of their own original sound strewn throughout.
Test Icicles just might have one of the most ridiculous names this side of Mephiskaphales, but their music is no joke. Come late January, America should feel quite the UK invasion. Get your dance shoes ready; For Screening Purposes Only is a dance party on crack.
This review is a user submitted review from Greg Dona. You can see all of Greg Dona's submitted reviews here.