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Reputation still often precedes The Icarus Line, whose press clippings paint them as debauched hellraisers playing appropriately assaultive rock ‘n roll. And Black Lives at the Golden Coast does wage intermittent war on eardrums, fired by brash, brisk stompers like “Committed to Extinction” and the sleazy Sunset Strip rock of “Sick Bitch.”
But the album ultimately sounds unsure of its footing, offering tentative glimpses into possible Icarus Line futures, like the grandiose “Victory Gardens,” which recalls U2 by way of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Alternatively, as on the opening single “Black Presents,” they fluctuate between sounding like noise-rockers the Mae Shi and, at least vocally, Marilyn Manson. On the poppy cut “Slayer,” drummer Jeff “The Captain” Watson sounds ready to take off without the rest of his band. It’s his frenetic style that anchors The Icarus Line, particularly on their faster tracks, which, at least for the time being, clearly remain their bread and butter.