Ikara Colt

Chat & Business + Basic Instructions ep
/epitaph; 2002/

rating : 8



more info:

This album has been released for about 6 months now and I totally ignored it, thinking Ikara Colt was just another one-time post-punk group quickly compared to Gang of Four because some would-be rock critic said so. It is appropriate to stress the fact that they are much more exciting than The Liars, Radio 4 or The awful Libertines.

Ikara Colt has been categorized as art students playing punk-rock / rock’n’roll with late 70’s references. I don’t know whether they made their album sleeve on their own and whether you need to study art to make such a sleeve but the artwork undeniably looks fine (there are tiny stickers of black and white photographs which you can stick in tiny white squares with cinematic captions on the sleeve.) Concerning the references, there are much more anchored in a particular mid-80’s british musical scene embodied for instance by The Fall and its agitator leader.

The sound is sort of lo-fi but they wanted it to be lo-fi. I mean let’s not kid ourselves, Epitaph is not a Third World label, they could have had a neat production if they wanted to. Anyway, the sound is nonetheless appealing. There is a great sense of urgency throughout the album which is right away brought to the fore: ‘One Note’ opens the album with the minimalist post-punk experience of a one note song while “Rudd” is a desperate and fierce teenage noisy punk complaint with guitar lines full of energy à la fugazi (Red Medicine). Even though some tracks evoke Gang of Four, the tempos are often quicker (“one note”, “bishop’s son”, “pop group”).

My favourite songs from Chat & Business are those sounding like The Fall in the mid 80’s (This Nation’s Saving Grace, The Frenz Experiment, I am Kurious Orange). The astonishing “Belgravia” and the insanely catchy “Sink Venice” (echoed by “Here We Go Again”) seem like relics of The Fall Brix Smith era even though Ikara Colt’s dictions are less sharp and incisive and even though their music is more approachable. This impression may be due to Claire Ingram’s back voices added to Paul Resende’s intonations, midway between singing and ranting. For example, “May b 1 Day” strongly evokes one of Mark E Smith’s purple passage: “Big New Prinz”. “At the Lodge” inclines towards 90’s The Fall (eg Middle-Class Revolt). “City of Glass” might be reminiscent of PIL to some listeners, less dismal though.

“After This” is an awkward but successful attempt to set a pink flag inbetween The Fall’s rants, Fugazi’s sharp guitar lines & Sonic Youth’s guitar build-up by gradations.

As it often happens when the band is signed to a capitalist label, the latter – namely Epitaph (unfortunately for old Bad Religion fans)- decides to release the album again enhanced by a second cd that contains here 4 songs (Basic instructions ep – which is by the way totally superfluous). I really disapprove of these commercial marketing methods that consider the listener just as a consumer. WE DON’T CONSUME MUSIC, WE LISTEN TO IT as Blacklisted Igor puts it with a nasty grin (hey, let’s make a button with this slogan). Anyway, this time it enabled me to discover a good band. Sometimes we miss a group and discover them 5 or 10 years later. This would have been a pity. Assuredly. Considering their kind of music, we may all the more fairly hope that Ikara Colt is worth seeing live.


/dec 15th 2002/