ICU | ICU Bleeding

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United States - Wisconsin

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Rock: 70's Rock Pop: Pop/Rock Moods: Type: Sonic
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ICU Bleeding

by ICU

His delivery is absolutely tantalizing and ends up the most distinct element of the record Full of raspy silk and smoked-out sexuality, his vocals almost sound like the meeting point of Marc Bolan (of T. Rex) and Jeremy Enigk but deeper and grittier.
Genre: Rock: 70's Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Sam's Hill
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4:06 album only
2. Lullaby
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3:34 album only
3. Ride
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2:52 album only
4. How It Goes
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3:52 album only
5. 1218
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1:55 album only
6. American
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3:43 album only
7. Bean Burrito
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4:12 album only
8. Go
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3:59 album only
9. Buzzkill
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4:29 album only
10. Master Key
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1:16 album only


Album Notes
Most of the ten songs off “Bleeding” initially posture like sleepy, slow burners, but this is only a ruse. In a highly deliberate manner, they unwind, accrue layered momentum, and emerge as guitar thrillers. This confident measure of patience would translate into a risky gambit for any band, but especially for ICU, a local Wisconsin band with no other releases under their collective belt. The strategy consistently delivers due to sterling execution, but like the structure of its songs, the high appeal of “Bleeding” comes into focus gradually but insistently.

ICU is fronted by La Crosse jack-of-all-trades Matt Monsoor and further manned by various members of standout Madison bands the Czarbles and Houses in Motion (Talking Heads mimickers and the world’s finest cover outfit). This quintet abides by typical guitar-rock convention in their arrangements but resists the derivative impulse that so often plagues aspiring newcomers. Even successful rock acts could learn a lesson in patience from “Bleeding.”

For instance, the superior “How It Goes” seems poised to just idly drift along, anchored only by temperamental guitar jabs. But it progressively develops a thick buzz and crescendos with a piercing guitar coda. This successful template also applies to the opening two numbers, “Sam’s Hill” and “Lullaby,” even while allowing for a variance in moods (the former being tense and evocative, the latter more inviting). However, “Bleeding’s” most accessible moment arrives with the honky-tonk pop of “Bean Burrito.” It still boasts a steady buildup but its twitchy, beer-soaked riffs set it apart from the rest.

Monsoor’s lyricism often is difficult to penetrate. Vague, anonymous, and spare, he appears to be grappling over life’s conundrums with the aid of friendly American Spirits. But that’s not the point. His delivery is absolutely tantalizing and ends up the most distinct element of “Bleeding.” Full of raspy silk and smoked-out sexuality, Monsoor’s vocals almost sound like the meeting point of Marc Bolan (of T. Rex) and Jeremy Enigk but with deeper, gritty tones. He can be emotive, like on the quiet closer “Master Key,” or more mysterious (see “Go”).

One note of caution: prepare to feel slightly robbed after listening to “1218.” What it could have blossomed into had it not been cut off! It glows with shadowy shifts, wedding straight strumming with a ghostly backdrop of shimmering synth ripples, but then it abruptly ends. Oh well. “Bleeding” is too consistent of a collection to be marred by one undercooked entry. Let it work on you and you’ll discover as much.

Barry Lenser
Emmie Magazine

ICU is:
Mark Sauer - guitar
Jeff Sauer - drums
Matt Skemp - bass
Andy Fitzpatrick - guitar,synth
Matt Monsoor - guitar, vocals, piano, accordion

Limited copies of discs
All cd jackets hand screen printed and individually numbered
with corresponding numbered disc.


to write a review

r beauvais

It's a sneaky one
Add one part Marian Faithful, one part hypnotic loops, a couple lines of cocaine, and wash it all down with some whiskey and a butt...


It Gets Under Your Skin
I expected to like this album--that's why I bought it. But I didn't expect to like it this much. The songs get into your bloodstream, and you've got to have them again and again. There's something weirdly hypnotic about Monsoor's vocals. Reminds me of Radiohead in that way. And indeed Monsoor lists Radiohead as an influence. Sure you can draw some parallels with T Rex too. But in the end, ICU is their own animal--maybe a cross between a soft, slinky mink and a wolf. I love it!