The National Beekeepers Society has never been on my radar, but band member Nick Whetro’s solo outlet, Icarus Himself, is solid enough to make me want to check out his main project. Icarus Himself’s self-titled debut EP is just five songs, but the fuzzy guitar and drum machine tracks make this small collection thoroughly enjoyable.
If you tune out Whetro’s vocals for a moment on the opening track “Scene (From a Car Crash)” you get the sense of the soft wash of a gray winter day. The tune becomes repetitive and entrancing like its subject matter. Don’t lie – you know you’ve watched the aftermath of a car accident with morbid fascination. “Amputee” is a strange love song that doesn’t develop quite as well as it could, but it’s followed by the soft strums of “Last Lung”, a hauntingly beautiful song that serves as a solid mid-way point for this EP.
“Youth in Asia” is perhaps the strangest sounding of the bunch – both musically and lyrically. Here Whetro sings “I lost my smile in the third world war, between the righteous and the hordes.” It’s easy to get lost inside the eerie vibe created by this track’s hollow drum beat and reverb. “People’s Temple” ratchets up the fuzzed out guitar and double tracked vocals to great effect.
One of the things I really enjoy about Icarus Himself’s self-titled EP is one of the things that originally drew me to the Fruit Bats. Nick Whetro makes great use of macabre lyrics over music that is oftentimes soft, or at the very least unassuming. You can’t go wrong with Icarus Himself if this style tends to draw you in. This may be just a five song EP, but there’s plenty of substance to sink in.