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Articles Home » 1981 Articles » Icehouse - 1981 Icehouse
Icehouse - 1981 Icehouse

ARTIST: Icehouse
ALBUM: Icehouse (USA release)
LABEL: Chrysalis
YEAR: 1981
CD REISSUE: 1990, Chrysalis, 259 006


LINEUP: Iva Davies - vocals, guitars * John Lloyd - drums, vocals * Anthony Smith - keyboards, vocals * Keith Welsh - bass, vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Icehouse * 02 Can't Help Myself * 03 Sister * 04 Walls * 05 Sons * 06 We Can Get Together * 07 Boulevarde * 08 Fatman * 09 Skin * 10 Not My Kind


No way around it, Icehouse was one of Australia's biggest success stories. Formed in 1977 as Flowers, from the beginning the group was a creative vehicle for chief songwriter and guitarist Iva Davies. A major player on the Sydney club circuit, Flowers wowed audiences with David Bowie, Ultravox, Brian Eno and T.Rex covers before releasing their first album 'Icehouse' in 1980. The record was hugely successful and tours with XTC, The Stranglers, The Angels and Roxy Music sealed their status as one of Australia's premier groups although going international required Flowers to change their name due to a Scottish band owning the same moniker. An easy choice and Icehouse was born with North America and Europe waiting to be conquered. Tours with punk songstress Hazel O'Connor and later Simple Minds in the UK proved Icehouse was no fluke and an American tour headlining clubs was just as profitable. In the United States, Icehouse received substantial airplay for the self titled debut and although this was the same album as the 'Flowers' release a year earlier, it was remixed for American record buyers including different cover art.

The Songs
It's that version we will be reviewing here and what a great album it is. Davies held British art rock near and dear to his heart and the influences of David Bowie, Roxy Music and Ultravox hold a lot of weight here. Cold and Icy, the title track sets the record's tone with shimmering synths and drone-like vocals. A real stunner as is 'Can't Help Myself' the big Australian hit and catchy as heck although it wasn't as successful as it should have been on U.S play lists. 'Sister' is another fun track with a bouncy punk sound although as with everything Icehouse do, there's plenty of lush keyboard work going on which tends to dull any aggression in case you were wondering. 'Walls' blows by pretty quick before the ghost of early Roxy Music appears on 'Sons' with its moody sax and avant garde piano. Hooks galore on 'We Can Get Together' and a solid rock tune verging on AOR with 'Boulevarde', side two rocks a little harder than the previous set with more use of guitar and although 'Fatman' and 'Skin' lack anything memorable, 'Not My Kind' is pure David Bowie in its influence and closes the record in a quirky, stylish fashion.

In Summary
Most fans prefer the Australian mix of this album and I'm one of them, although this version is just fine and the U.S album art is superior. Icehouse would go on to release several fantastic albums and especially recommended is 1987's 'Man of Colours' which spawned numerous hit singles in both Australia and North America, including the evergreen 'Electric Blue' which was co-written with John Oates of Hall & Oates fame.

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#1 | gdazegod on December 02 2008 05:31:13
Gotta agree. Icehouse was part of my teenage experience. Great band.
#2 | Jez on December 02 2008 22:17:24
Good band - my fave has always been the superb 'Man Of Colors' album, but this is a goodie!
#3 | Eric on December 02 2008 23:53:52
It was a toss up reviewing this one or 'Man Of Colours'. We'll get to that one eventually I'm sure.Smile
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