The indie pop band the Icicles are back with their second sugar sweet offering of classic pop. "A Hundred Patterns," the first full-length effort from the Icicles, successfully builds upon their EP "Pure Sugar." If you are looking for comparisons look no further than Heavenly, the Go Go's, sixties girl group the Murmaids and more recently the All Girl Summer Fun Band.
While "Pure Sugar" is pure pop, "A Hundred Patterns" displays the bands continual maturation process. The pop elements are all there, but there is also an underlying sense of melancholy most noticeable on the beautifully quiet "Pretty" which features Jeff Baron (Ladybug Transistor, Essex Green, Sixth Great Lake) on guitar. Pop fans need not worry, there are also plenty of get-up-out-of-your-seat-and-dance songs like "I Wanna Know."
Along with some changes in the tone of the album, the line up has changed. Gretchen DeVault (vocals, guitar) and Joleen Rumsey (vocals, keyboards, gloc) are back with a new rhythm section including Emily Krueger (bass guitar) and Greg Krupp (vocals, drums).
The foursome traveled to Marlborough Farms in Brooklyn, NY to record with Ladybug Transistor front man Gary Olson and Bill Wells. The album was mixed and mastered by Britt Myers who produced, engineered and mixed Dressy Bessy's second album, "Dressy Bessy." Myers also mixed the Essex Green's album "The Long Goodbye" released on Merge Records and James William Hindle's album "Prospect Park" released on Badman Records.
All the new faces add to the depth of this album. This group has managed to walk the thin line between throwaway pop and over-serious pretentious rock with a skill that is nothing short of amazing.
The best elements from "Pure Sugar" all return on "A Hundred Patterns." There are sweet melodies, beautiful harmonies, smooth bass lines, solid toe tapping drum beats and great sing along choruses. But somehow the sum is more than the total of the parts. The Icicles have magically sewn together a classic pop album that will keep you warm on those cold winter nights, and will keep you cool during the dog days of summer.