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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic 80's synthrock that has aged remarkably well!,
By A Customer
It's hard to believe that this album is 20 this year! The original english version was called simply Icehouse, here we have the full Australian version plus 3 bonus tracks as re-released in 1993. So what of the music? Icehouse sit comfortably alongside Ultravox and Japan musically with Iva Davies' voice coming across as a combination of Bowie, Ferry and David Sylvian. This, their debut album is considerably harder than the more familiar Hey Little Girl (their big UK hit)hanging on the coat-tails of punk with lots of spikey guitar cutting through the lush keyboards of Andy Quanta. The songs have an epic quality, the eponymous "Icehouse" is Vienna on an even grander scale, the rest of the album is New Romantic heaven, pausing for Iva Davies brief Lou Reed impression on "Nothing To Do" (a track omitted from the original UK release)and then finishing with another cinematic flourish - "Not My Kind". The remaining 3 tracks are B-sides of early singles and demonstrate that Icehouse had plenty of quality material left over after recording the album. If you're a child of the 80's and have played your Duran Duran and Vox albums to death listen to this for a bit of variety.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth Discovering,
I would agree with all Stotty's comments above, which you should read in tandem with my own. I too had a much listened-to tape of this in the 80s, and while this would still have to classified as pop/rock, it's highly distinctive with an edge not found in most other pop music of the time.
I differ slightly in some of the comparisons though: in terms of the Cars, I think it's more inventive and off-beat than that band. As for Iva Davies sounding like David Bowie and Bryan Ferry, well a little but if like me you don't like either much, again it's not something that's significant enough to grate.
The guitars and keyboards are used quite aggressively for the time, and the song structures relatively radical - eg on 'Icehouse' and 'Not My Kind'. Lyrically it's sometimes cryptic but always interesting and nicely phrased. In fact Davies' neat pen protraits and scene-setting are sufficiently good that it's a little frustrating when he starts repeating verses instead of developing his ideas further. Equally, musically one or two of the choruses don't match the quality of the rest of the songs - eg 'Fatman' and 'Sister'.
Probably because I was young and read quite a bit of sci-fi, I always thought the album had the feeling of a concept album, something that was set in a world similar to ours, but a little colder and more menacing than our own.
BTW this release has the exact original artwork, except that now the album is officially 'Flowers' by Icehouse rather than 'Icehouse' by Flowers, which was the band's original name. When they went international there was a name clash so they adopted their first album title for the band. Hence my original UK version was just called 'Icehouse' by 'Icehouse'. Interesting, eh? No? Oh, well...
The album would be worth getting on its own, but most of the extra material is also a good standard, with the exception of the clumsy 'Send Somebody' and the Velvets impersonation 'Do Nothing'. The extra version of 'Can't Help Myself' is actually better than the album version.
Mind you, i have an original 12" of the 'Icehouse' single which has on the B-side live versions of 'All the Way' (the studio version of which is here) and John Lennon's 'Cold Turkey', which it would have been nice to include here also.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cool!!!,
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Icehouse will always be Australia's best musical export for me. When I was at secondary school in the mid to late 80s I was classed as a bit of an odd bod, because while everybody else was fannying about with Duran Duran et al, I was getting down to this stuff.
This is the first Icehouse album, and as far as debuts go it's an outstanding record.
Musically it's reminiscent of The Cars, but without the humour, and vocally, singer/songwriter/guitarist/overall bandleader, Iva Davies is a cross between Bryan Ferry and David Bowie. It's a cool blend of styles, most effective on the deeper, more involved songs like 'Walls', 'Sons' and the spooky 'Icehouse'.
There's also some good, accessible stuff on the album too such as 'I Can't Help Myself', 'Sister' and the quite excellent 'We Can Get Together'.
Production wise, my old cassette version of this record really exposed a lot of the flaws, but this remastered version (by Iva Davies) is a smoother experience, and the recordings are the original Australian release tracks, and not the initial UK released re recordings. This means that the track running order is considerably different to the set I remember, and 'I Can't Help Myself' is a verse shorter. The vocal delivery is also different on several numbers.
Listening to these songs takes me back to halcyon days of my youth and musical discovery. It's been a pleasure to revisit this band again and the wonderful songs Iva Davies wrote. I'm still of the opinion that they knock spots off the Australian outfits that made it big in this country, such as Crowded House and INXS.
Their lack of real UK success is unforgiveable and still remains a mystery to me.
5.0 out of 5 stars Icehouse - Flowers 2cd/dvd 30th anniversary edition,
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This review is from: Flowers (Audio CD)
I thoroughly advise anyone to buy this Album - it`s a Classic ! .....my advice is this special 30th anniversary edition including 2cds and 1 dvd !! . I first bought this album on cassette way back in NZ Summer of `82 along w/ " Hitwave `82" ....a New Zealand version of " Now, that`s what I......." . This was my very first cassette that I ever bought !!. This collection however is the Brilliant compiling of the original album plus Live tracks and Live and TV footage from `81 shortly after the album burst on the scene. When it comes to music ....the Aussie`s know how to rock and make brilliant music . Iva Davies and Crew created something truly wonderful here. The only sad thing is that they should have put the 10" Extended version of " Can`t help myself " instead of the Edit 10" version on here as a bonus track ......this ...I have to buy on E-bay ( sorry Amazon ) . But Hey !!! .....get this edition anyway ! It`s the Hammer !
5.0 out of 5 stars SO COLD INSIDE THE ICEHOUSE...,
I have always had a soft spot for Iva Davies and Icehouse since seeing them live supporting Bowie in 1983.
This was their debut album and in truth, there is not a lot out there that sounds quite like this. It is atmospheric, driven both by keyboard and guitar (yet not resembling the new romantics of this era) with all sorts of influences thrown into the mix including a splash of Bowie circa Berlin period.
Davies' vocals are superb and the whole album hangs together very well - at times with full-on punchy, catchy songs and at other times, driven by terrifically haunting melodies.
For me, this album will always remain pure magic and todate, is probably the best the band ever produced.
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