The Icicle Works were founded in Liverpool in 1980 when bassist Chris Layhe (who had been in a couple
of local rock bands including Elanor and Blind Owl) answered an advertisement for a musical collaborator
placed by 20 year old Ian McNabb. The two got together and started writing. They quickly added
drummer Chris Sharrock (who had previously drummed for the Cherry Boys), and began playing live
After the release of their self-titled debut album the Icicle Works struggled to match their initial
commercial success. However, they continued to receive critical acclaim as a live band and secured a
loyal fan base both in the UK and abroad.
There's actually nothing small about the Icicle Works' second album. Like early U2, Big Country, and
Simple Minds, the Icicle Works paint with a large canvas; on The Small Price of a Bicycle, the Icicle Works
don't stray from their formula of mammoth guitar riffs and epic choruses.
The galloping bass and sweeping vocals of Hollow Horse should've been as successful in the U.S. as the
band's only American hit, Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream) . "We'll be as we are/When all the fools who
doubt us fade away," McNabb bellows defiantly on Hollow Horse , lyrics that are as catchy as the "We
are, we are/We are but your children" sing-along of Birds Fly . Filled with high drama and a ceaselessly
driving beat, Hollow Horse nearly stomps the rest of the album into mashed potatoes. Perambulator
exposes the Icicle Works' more aggressive side, one that McNabb would explore further on his Head Like
a Rock LP, while Seven Horses is more of the same, McNabb's throaty voice riding on a wave of colossal
guitars and thumping basslines.
This reissue in conjunction with Beggars Banquet contains two bonus discs of rare and unreleased
material, together with informative notes by long time Icicle works champion Jerry Ewing who has talked
to Ian McNabb about the making of the album.