So I’m not as cool as I like to pretend. Plenty of great music gets past me. I’m left to the slightly embarrassing task of trying to catch up with others who really were there when it happened. This year the biggest missed opportunity which revealed itself was 2005s “For Screening Purposes Only,” by the Test Icicles.
This band from London would have gone completely under my radar if it wasn’t that singer Dev left the group and went on to become Lightspeed Champion, releasing one of RSL’s best albums of 2008.
Having become completely obsessed with Lightspeed, I was looking around for more by Dev, and the Test Icicles appeared dimly on the horizon. This is no longer easy stuff to get hold of, but my best-kept source for digging out hidden musical gems (my mother) doggedly tracked it down in a second-hand store in Manchester (UK).
So now the hunt is over, what do the Test Icicles sound like? Coming from Lightspeed to this, I don’t think I have ever heard a more jarring change of direction in any musician’s career. Where Lightspeed is slight and subtle and crafted to perfection, “For Screening Purposes Only” is a heavy, blasting album that feels like it could tear your head off. It’s vicious and cutting, and you wonder how Dev could sing another note after just first track ‘Your biggest mistake’ comes to an end.
Though it is absolutely not what I was looking for at the time, The Test Icicles can’t be ignored. They are a really explosive band that you’ll keep playing even when it hurts to hear any more. If you ever come across their CD, and feel you need a sonic battering that feels like an actual battering, remember that they come highly recommended.