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ICARUS

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United Kingdom


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Icarus biography
UK outfit Icarus was formed in 1968, with a line-up consisting of Richard Hudson (drums), John Ford (bass), Norrie Devine (sax, flute, clarinet), David Plotel (guitar), Steve Hart (vocals), Iain Hines (keyboards). Ford soon left though, replaced by Glyn Havard (bass) - or vice versa. History is a bit unclear on that point.

Anyhow, both bass-players are credited on the first output of the band, the single "The Devil Rides Out" issued on the Sparks label i 1969.

Later the band was signed to Pye Records. A few more line-up changes were in store for the band as well, with Hudson and Ford (or Hudson and Havard, depending on sources) leaving, replaced by Peter Curtain (drums) and John Plotel (bass) respectively, the latter in turn replaced by Jimmy Wiley (bass). This line-up recorded the sole album to be released by the band. David Plotel (guitar) left the band prior to the album release though, replaced by John Etheridge (guitar).

The Marvel World of Icarus was issued in 1972, and according to legend quickly pulled from the market due to a dispute between Pye Records and Marvel Comics. Without an album to promote the band didn't last for much longer, and by the end of 1972 Icarus disbanded.

In 2007 "The Marvel World Of Icarus" was reissued for the first time, with their single, an unreleased single and another previously unreleased track as bonus features.

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ICARUS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.44 | 12 ratings
The Marvel World Of Icarus
1972

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ICARUS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Marvel World Of Icarus by ICARUS album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.44 | 12 ratings

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The Marvel World Of Icarus
Icarus Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars a very unique and excellent prog music ..

Well, yeah ... the first time I heard the music I kept laughing at it as the music turned out to be unique and it's something that was very hard for me to describe. It's my bad habit tend to categorize music into genre or subgenre that sometimes make me difficult to classify and at the end, especially with this release, I gave up categorizing it ....as music is played to enjoy and not to categorize or cataloguing them into certain type of genre or subgenre. As this was originally recorded in 1972, the concept work by the British progressive rock group only available one year due to the dispute with Marvel Comics. The Marvel World Of Icarus was a concept work based around the Marvel Comics stable of superheroes. Taken from the original master tapes, this first-ever official reissue (2007) - includes comprehensive liner notes, band quotes and previously unpublished photos - tells the fascinating story behind the album as well as documenting the wider adventures of Icarus during their 1968-72 existence.

Let's talk about the music. You might classify the music under regular classic rock type of thing similar to Captain Beyond even though it's not really similar. Yes, the music is quite raw and not clearly rock in nature but for sure it's a progressive one as I can find many time signature changes as well as style changes. In my case, the music really astonishes me as it blends various kind of music with sort of jazz, rock, pop as well as afro american style as well. The recording style is raw as it was i think intended to be like this - it sounds really great to my ears. The music moves nicely in relatively fast tempo with mostly upbeat style blending stunning guitar, dynamic flutework as well as saxophone solo along many tracks featured. The flute work I really love and it can be found many segments in the album. The basslines are also very dynamic combined with excellent drumming. In terms of style changes the band demonstrates it in various songs for example in Thor (8th track) where the music suddenly changes its style into slow tempo one. I do not read the Marvel Comics but I am very sure that the songs provided here were intended to represent the superheroes characters as described in the comics.

Overall, this is a highly recommended album with full four-star rating as the music is unique, rich in composition and textures, and most importantly it is cohesive as whole concept album from the opening track into the concluding one. As this is based on comics, the musical style heavily based on story-telling with powerful vocal work. This albu has become my regular playlist for months as I really like the style. Do not think of any symphonic or eclectic or any kind of neo prog music .....just enjoy listening the music - and I am sure you will find joy with it. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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 The Marvel World Of Icarus by ICARUS album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.44 | 12 ratings

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The Marvel World Of Icarus
Icarus Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The late 1960s produced some of the most groovy and interesting pieces of jazz-rock. The melting and fusion of jazz and rock results in a blend of extremely delicious chops and music. Blood, Sweat & Tears, Chase, Chicago and several other bands really took the development of rock music several steps further. This was, of course, before the jazz- rock/fusion side of music turned into the severely slick fusion of the later 1970's. The slick side of things is not my cup of tea. The grittier, dirtier and harder rocking sort is more in line with my taste.

So, having established my love of jazz-rock, I now proclaim the immense impact the world of Marvel had on my childhood. Batman and the Hulk was always my favorites among the superheroes but the all filled up my imagination, back then. I guess that is why I have always had a soft spot for this, the only album, by the british jazz-rock outfit Icarus.

Jazz-rock and the superheroes of Marvel. Now that's a great way to start off the day. It must be. The cover suggests a whole lot, as does the mythical status of this album. Severely affected by Marvel wanting 50% of the sales and the record company's (Pye, that is) decision to withdraw the whole thing because of that, crippled the band and left them without an album to promote. The reviews of the time were not raving either, so in hindsight the band struggled.

The musical content, apart from the great cover and mythical mumbo jumbo surrounding the album, is, however, not all that it is cracked up to be. There are great moments and there's good ones but the album is really not that brilliant or fantastic. The musicianship is nigh on perfect but the material is in itself mostly alright. The lyrical content is entertaining and fun, which makes this listenable.

Though the songs have slightly differing styles, the overall feeling is one of more or less similar tracks. There are really no fantastic stand-outs. The ballad "Madame Masque" is really on of the more recognisable ones, due to it's mellowness. Most of the tracks are harsh jazz-rock, performed with great intensity. "Conan - The barbarian", "The Hulk" and "Black Panther" are among the best tracks of the lot.

When listening to this album I dig the music. It is groovy and great but it is not among the greater albums of the genre. It is sort of a novelty act. Fun and entertaining, not bad at all but not brilliant either. The only album Icarus made is primarily, I think, known for it's obscure nature and lyrical themes, rather than the music on the vinyl. I would not really recommend this album if approached with the oppurtunity to promote the jazz-rock record of all time. It would not even end up in the Top 10. That does not mean you shouldn't give this album a go. It is fun, entertaining, groovy and certainly an interesting piece of a time and musical landscape long gone. I cherish my CD edition and play it every once in a while. It is, like I have said often enough in this review, great fun and full of good though not outstanding music.

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 The Marvel World Of Icarus by ICARUS album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.44 | 12 ratings

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The Marvel World Of Icarus
Icarus Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Step into the world of Superhero lunacy

Being a huge Marvel fan I had to check out this oddity from the early 70s by Icarus. It certainly did not disappoint and gets better as it goes along. It begins with strange chanting and chaotic jazzy time sigs and then progresses onto some inspired flute work especially notable on 'Fantastic Four' and 'Conan The Barbarian'. I love the psychedelic flavours on Thor that even becomes a blues rendition towards the end.

The lyrics are downright cheesy but non compromising as to the content. This could easily work as a soundtrack to Marvel comics, and of course it was a lawsuit waiting to happen, the band being slapped on the wrist for using the coveted superheroes. The album is a fun romp and never takes itself seriously but has some seriously brilliant musicianship. The saxophone solo in Thor is dynamic for instance.

'Black Panther' is rather a slinky thing like the super hero herself, and there is a great flute solo and jazzy vibe with lyrics such as, "watch out for the panther now!" and it carries on about the white man and the black man, in true 70s style.

'The Man Without Fear' features a cool rocking beat, and crazy lyrics, "he's the one they call the man without fear, when all the fight is over he's thinking of his lover only, wishing that he could see her, wanting to be just near her only, but he must hide his sorrow for he knows that tomorrow, lonely, for he must hide his sadness and fight the human madness." The flute solo follows again and it is as good as Ian Anderson. This is groovy and worth a listen.

'Silver Surfer' is a sheer psychedelic composition with phased vocals and a rather melancholy atmosphere. The musical swirls are real freak out. Lyrics are very cool, "Nothing can stop your cosmic power, even the super humans cower, Oh Silver Surfer, ride, ride, ride the sky." You have to admire the approach of this band who have decided to pay homage to Marvel without flinching in their tenacity.

'Things Thing' is a short thing. It kind of boogies along steadily like 12 bar blues with some raspy vocals, and the scorching sax solo is backed by wonderful tom toms. Some lyrics, "Deceiving so unbelieving" is all I can make out.

'Captain America' is a rocking loud blaster with some quirky lyrics, "who's the saviour of the nation?" and the flute solo once again similar to Jethro Tull style.

I have to say this is a real blast from the past that deserves recognition with a fresh approach and fun content. Perhaps it should be played in the background at comic conventions. Marvel should have looked at this as a wonderful advertisement for their product rather than demanding 50% of profits. The record was withdrawn and hardly saw the light of day, but hopefully now it will have some impact.

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 The Marvel World Of Icarus by ICARUS album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.44 | 12 ratings

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The Marvel World Of Icarus
Icarus Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by kingdhansak

4 stars A great addition to the Prog Archives and a real pleasure to be giving it it's debut review here. I must say though, where they got the jazz/fusion tag from is anyone's guess. The LP is actually pretty commercial sounding - more of that in moment, a bit of brief history first.

All members of Icarus were huge fans of Marvel Comics, hence the basic concept of this LP. As you can see from the track list, each title is based on a marvel character. Sadly at the time, the head of Marvel found out about this shortly before release and demanded a 50% share of the royalties. Instead of giving in, the record company simply withdrew the LP. Several copies of the originals slipped out of course. I'm glad to say one of these slipped and found it's way into my record collection, where it will be staying. Like most rarities of this nature, it has been re-issued. Not sure if Marvel are getting their cut this time round though. I'm sure they're making enough from the recent spate of films.

Anyway the music: As said before, pretty commercial sounding. No lengthy or wild instrumental passages at all here. What makes this one stand out is the sheer variety of compositions and brilliant songwriting. Tracks like 'Fantastic Four' and 'Thor' are pretty bluesy, 'Iron Man' veers into a Psych territory and 'Madam Masque' is a beautiful ballad. Due to the nature of the concept, it is simply great fun to listen to. All musicians are competant and the singer has a great voice.

As a result of the withdrawn LP, the band split. Yet another of these one album wonders. As usual leaving me thinking, imagine if they'd made more, we'll never know. Well worth a purchase!

PS - Fact - As read a few years ago in a reputable music mag, this band were the first to play in Romania. Apparently they went down a storm!

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