Nov 23, 2011

RhoDeo 1147 Aetix

Hello, Aetix is still at that great southern land, todays artists haven't been too prolific despite a core duo the turnover in other bandmembers likely hindered a bigger output, nevertheless they did make an impression and made it to the Australian Hall of Fame.

This will be my final Australian Aetix post and with Icehouse I think a spacious goodbye from a time the rest of the world hadn't encroached on that wide open country, that these days is beseiged by mining industry and activities that demand secrecy. Secrecy, but lets frighten the people with the influx of foreigners, Asians mainly, maybe the Autralians need reminding what goes around comes around. It still is a largely empty country even if the real estate is getting evermore expensive.

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Originaly started in 1977 as Flowers, sounding very much as Roxy Music, playing covers over the latter and T-Rex, Bowie and the like...they build a strong following in the Sydney area. This got them their first record deal, "Icehouse" was released still under the moniker of Flowers. The album sold well the single "Icehouse" generated some european interest, to avoid confusion with the scottish Flowers they decided to rename to Icehouse, under that name they toured extensivly around Europe and North America during 81. In January 1982, the band's original line up split, resulting in Davies recording Icehouse's much-anticipated second album, Primitive Man, on his own, with assistance from Keith Forsey, (worked with Simple Minds). Released in August 1982, Primitive Man was a huge Australian hit and became Icehouse's international breakthrough. The hit single "Hey Little Girl" has remained their most regularly played song, another remarkable track from Primitive Man is "Great Southern Land".

Icehouse's third album, Sidewalk, was far more sombre and reflective. After this album the band made further inroads into the U.S. market with their 1986 release Measure for Measure which featured none other than Brian Eno as a listed band member.
The next album, Man of Colours, was their best-selling album. It contained the hit singles "Crazy" and "Electric Blue". Both singles reached the US Top 20, with "Electric Blue" hitting #7. With this album, the band reached it's monetairy zenit, which was understood as Code Blue, Big Wheel and the Berlin tapes didnt reach beyond Australia. The rest of the world was treated on an endless stream f compilations, remasters and remixes of Icehouse's eighties work.

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This is the second go 'round for the band's debut, which first appeared in Australia (their homeland) in 1980 when they were still called Flowers. Rooting themselves beyond their own shores meant changing their name to avoid conflict with another band already called Flowers (incredible) and remixing the album, a rite of passage for Australian releases it seems. So Flowers adopted the album's name, Icehouse, as their own and successfully peddled their brand of Ultravox-influenced music on a burgeoning new wave market hungry for new heroes. The comparisons to Ultravox, Gary Numan, and David Bowie are unavoidable, but so is the fact that the album is chock full of good songs.

Still in its infancy, synth pop's rules of engagement were straightforward: Science fiction imagery was strongly encouraged; vocals that oscillated between detachment and passion were the preferred mode of communication; poppy melodies were a plus; and anything that pointed to the pioneering work of David Bowie was moving in the right direction. Iva Davies follows those rules to the letter, and proves to be a fine songwriter with an ear for mimicry, borrowing large bits and adding his own catchy tunes to the concoction. The songs do sound alike -- steady power pop beats amid vaguely European vocals and synthesizers -- but the band's mindset seems to be on writing a hit each time out, which isn't a bad approach at all.

Icehouse – Icehouse (flac 232mb)

01 Icehouse 4:12
02 Can't Help Myself 3:51
03 Sister 3:28
04 Walls 4:01
05 Sons 4:35
06 We Can Get Together 3:40
07 Boulevarde 3:16
08 Fatman 3:52
09 Skin 2:47
10 Not My Kind 3:36

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As an oboe/guitar player involved in electro popular music, it's no surprise Iva Davies took to Roxy Music, especially on "Street Café" and the mega-hit "Hey Little Girl," which duly landed in no less than 13 European Top Ten singles charts, going all the way in Switzerland. An album of atmospheres, "Great Southern Land" evokes images of Australia's arid interior, while "Trojan Blue" conjures up medieval Italy or France. "Mysterious Thing" continues Primitive Man's mood, and produces what may be the best line in ambient white funk recorded! Running orders for the album fluctuate. Finishing up is an excellent reworking of "Goodnight Mr. Mathews," Primitive Man (aka Love in Motion in the U.K.) is still one his finest recordings. Those seeking out the CD are also blessed with the inclusion of "Over the Line," hitherto only available on Fresco and the singles box set, the original 12" of "Girl," and the German version of "Uniform."

Icehouse – Primitive Man ( flac 518mb)

01 Great Southern Land 5:19
02 Uniform 4:13
03 Hey Little Girl 4:25
04 Street Cafe 4:13
05 Glam (Instrumental) 3:22
06 Trojan Blue 5:03
07 One By One 4:02
08 Breaking These Chains 3:43
09 Mysterious Thing 4:25
10 Goodnight, Mr. Matthews 4:00
11 Over The Line 2:45
12 Glam (12" Version)6:33
Bonus Tracks
13 Uniform 12" (German Version) 6:07
14 Street Cafe (Single Mix) 4:13
15 Love In Motion (USA Recording) 3:37
16 Can't Help Myself (Live) 5:39
17 We Can Get Together (Live) 3:54

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On their fifth album, the smooth pop style of Australia's Icehouse is garnished with even more bouncy synthesizers and lavish melodies than their earlier work. Lead singer Iva Davies elaborated slant is immediately forthcoming in all the tunes on this album, but is truly the best working part behind the group. Man of Colours' first two tracks attached themselves to the Top 40, with "Crazy" peaking at number 17 in 1987 and "Electric Blue" reaching number seven in 1988, a song co-written by John Oates. After these two singles, the rest of the album becomes thin with keyboard -- crammed, syncopated rhythms jumping behind electric guitar that can barely be noticed. Even though the emphasis on keyboards is stereotypical of '80s pop, here it's in danger of becoming overbearing. Davies lyrics strain to be substantial, but fall short because of the meek support from the music enshrouding his polished voice.

Icehouse – Man Of Colours (rem) (flac 505mb)

01 Crazy 3:24
02 Electric Blue 4:24
03 Nothing Too Serious 3:28
04 Man Of Colours 5:11
05 Heartbreak Kid 5:19
06 The Kingdom 4:52
07 My Obsession 4:09
08 Girl In The Moon 4:01
09 Anybody's War 4:05
10 Sunrise 5:45
11 Crazy (12") 7:18
12 Crazy (Midnight Mix) 4:46
Bonus Tracks
13 Shakin' The Cage 4:00
14 Over My Head 3:47
15 Touch The Fire 3:46
16 Jimmy Dean 4:00
17 Electric Blue (Extended Mix) 7:34

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V-Thrax said...


I love all your posts but this brought back a lot of memories...


Anonymous said...

Would you consider a re-up on the above three Icehouse selections (FLAC only). I would appreciate it. Thank you.


Rho said...

Hello J.R. , well i've considered it and the answer is yes ! N'Joy

Anonymous said...

Thank you!

Unknown said...

Dead links over there!

VanceMan said...

LOVED the first two Icehouse LPs. But I lost Man of Colours along the way; thanks for filling in that space.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rho

Is it possible to re-load the first and third Icehouse albums?

Many thanks!

Anonymous said...

I haven't heard their first album for years. I soooo look forward to listening to it again! Many thanks!