Album Review of:
‘ICARUS RISING: THE CRESTED VULTURE TAPES’
by ICARUS LANDING (STEVE SNEYD & DAVID JAGGAR)
(Crested Vulture Disks CVD-001 - £6.50 –
Hilltop Press, 4 Nowell Place, Almondbury, Huddersfield HD5 8PB)
Blues from the Calder Delta. Legendary word-of-mouth underground performance-art duo Icarus Landing, long-thought unrecorded and forever lost, finally resurface. With a flood-damaged seventies tape, cleaned-up, digitised, and completely amazing. An audio artefact of smoke-hazed Folk Clubs and moist beer-mats, where sweat drips from the ceiling as if in some time-capsule monochrome photograph. Dave Jaggar, he of Spider Lee Brown and the Champion Jack Dupree Band, plays dextrous guitar and – on “Trowell, Midnight”, harmonica, with Blues improvisations providing space for Steve Sneyd’s flights of poetic wonder, delivered in a thick monotone the colour of Pennine Bitter pointed up by slurs of betraying Yorkshire inflections. Together, they pick up the rambling cadences of half-glimpsed and never-quite-concluded back-street pub people-stuff conversations and ignite them with surreal absurdist sense-of-wonder, from skew-wiff mythologies of visiting Martians, to the scrap-dealer clearing the Rhodes Colossus from where it blocks the harbour-mouth, the girl who half-inches cutlery from Motorway Service Stations yet only gets randy ‘for men with ideals’, the man on his ninth pint waiting for the girl who never turns up, then the puddled walk home uphill singing ‘Careless Love’ off-key. Like the line ‘crooked, as a ring around the moon’ – a ring, of course, is not crooked, but what they’re about is reconciling contradictions. These performances are unforgettable, like scars.
REVIEW BY ANDREW DARLINGTON