Published Jun 01, 2016There's a conceptual consistency to Ice Cream's work that makes them such a unique and satisfying group to follow, from when they first introduced themselves in 2014 with "Science" to this year and the long-awaited release of their debut album, Love, Ice Cream.
Throughout the record, the complicated interconnections between female agency and identity are skilfully dealt with by the duo in a lyrically ambiguous way that's buttressed by their balanced instrumentation. Carlyn Bezic and Amanda Crist trade lead vocal duties, and play with a style that mines both post-punk and early electronic music, leading to a diverse range of results on the album's eight songs. Whether it's the pre-programmed purr of "Receiver" or the cosmic dust that swirls into "Material," Love, Ice Cream explores the continuum of possibilities between those styles without ever pushing the scales too heavily to one side or the other.
Though it's the sixth song on the LP, "Science" is as good a map to the band's sound and ideas as any. A strict drum machine beat and supporting bass line ground the song, as Crist's synth lines wander and Bezic's cold vocal delivery underscores the lyrical exploration of identity-nullifying with clinical distance. Reducing your entire being to just "science" is both an exercise in humility and a plain matter of fact, and it's in that space where Ice Cream are at their best.
Following the oil-slick instrumental odyssey "BP," "Dress Me Up" explores similar areas, its titular refrain hammering home the song's duality through repetition, sounding like an order as much as it does a voluntary surrender of choice and control.
With Love, Ice Cream, Ice Cream demonstrate that though it might register as blank and malleable, there's life in plastic after all. (Bad Actors)