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Icarus - The Marvel World Of Icarus CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.48 | 22 ratings

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Psychedelic Paul
4 stars ICARUS were an obscure six-piece British band who released just one album during their brief lifetime. The album "The Marvel World of Icarus" (1972) was based on famous superhero characters from Marvel Comics, with band members adopting various superhero names for the recording of the album. Legend has it that the album had to be quickly pulled from the shelves due to a dispute between Marvel Comics and and the band's record label, Pye Records, with the result that the album now has the status of a very rare (and expensive) collector's item. This superheroes album won't save the world, but it's saved itself a well-deserved place in Prog-Rock history. Let's step into the Marvellous World of the Fantastic Four now and check out the thirteen fantastic superhero-themed songs on the album.

After the Marvellously over-the-top spoken-word "Prologue", we're weaving a tangled web with "Spiderman". This is an all-out psychedelic sonic assault with the raspy-voiced singer sounding like he's badly in need of a throat lozenge. This raw and earthy blues-tinged psychedelia has a similar sound to some of Iron Butterfly's heavier numbers. The fun superhero lyrics deserve a mention too:- "His secret senses tell him what to do, Who's that punk - a man in red and blue? Spider-Man is going to prowl, Oh, look out, The web's behind you now!" ..... It's Marvel-lous music designed to set your spidery senses tingling, and it's kind of ironic that we're now listening to "Spiderman" on a website on the World Wide Web. The "Fantastic Four" are looming into view next, featuring a prominent flute at the forefront, which sounds like a psychedelic version of Jethro Tull. The "Fantastic Four" of the title are Mister Fantastic, the Invisible Girl, the Flaming Torch and the monstrous Thing. They represent a force for good in the world, battling a bevy of villains and evil-doers, in the manner of a typical "Governator" movie starring Arnold Schwarzeneggar. Hulking into view next comes the jolly green giant himself, the "Hulk". You wouldn't like him when he's angry, and he sounds mildly annoyed in this stirring Blues-Rock number, so watch out, because this song sounds mean and moody. This bluesy number is Jazzed-up by the sonorous sound of a sensational saxophonist who's really on a rollicking shirt-ripping roll here. We're entering the supervillain world of "Madame Masque" next, which turns out to be a bluesy romantic piano ballad that's very reminiscent of Chris Farlowe's "Handbags and Gladrags" (the theme from The Office). There's another supercharged burst of high and mighty Jazz-Rock for "Conan the Barbarian", which brings to mind the raw uncut power of blues legend Graham Bond. Beware the "Iron Man", because he's along next, although he's no relation to the Black Sabbath song of the same name. No, this is more of a Roaring Forties gale force blast of the saxophone in another Jazz- Rock spectacular.

Take cover! It's all storm and almighty thunder for the first song on Side Two: "Thor", which opens dramatically to the sound of a thunderous lightning bolt from the blue. The music is a loud and anthemic tribute to the mighty Norse God of War, "Thor", so be prepared for a cannonade of musical artillery fire and thunderous fireworks in this powerful blast of audio dynamite. Stalking stealthily into view next is the "Black Panther", but this is no silent creeping panther - this is a rousing and reverberant Jazz-Rock refrain on the rampage that jumps up and bites! Have no fear, because "The Man Without Fear" is here, fighting for what is right in another tale of derring-do. This song is a magical mixed bag of tricks, featuring a whole kaleidoscope of musical colours, alternating between uptempo bursts of fluty Jazz-Rock energy, blended together with some mellower bluesy passages. We're on the Magic Bus to California next, because gliding into view now on a gentle wave of beautifully- harmonious melody is the "Silver Surfer". It's a soft rippling wave of sensual sound and pleasure which reminds one of the laid-back psychedelia of the American band, It's a Beautiful Day. Icarus have perfectly encapsulated the sound of American west-coast 1960's rock with this amazing song. Every day is a beautiful day when you can listen to gorgeous rejuvenating music like this. It's back to basics next for "Things Thing", a good old-fashioned slice of unadulterated British Blues-Rock, and finally, flying in now to save the world at the last moment is "Captain America", a roaring storming two and a half minutes of rabble-rousing Rock & Roll.

"The Marvel World of Icarus" is a hard-hitting album of bluesy Jazz-Rock in the uncompromising style of the raspy-voiced Graham Bond. The album is a real Liquorice Allsorts box of contrasts though, featuring a good serving of storm and thunder songs, some raw and earthy blues numbers, and sprinkled with a pleasant confection of sweet and tender melodies. It's an album full of superheroes and super songs. All in all, there's something here for everyone.

Psychedelic Paul | 4/5 |


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