Ikarus – “R’AS 5-20”

I’m not sure why, but this album cover made me think that Ikarus was a sort of classic rock band.  And… I was wrong.

As near as I can tell, R’AS 5-20 (1984) was the only release by Ikarus, which is somewhat surprising since I think it’s a good representation of how the punk/new wave scene was developing at that time, except a bit weirder.  Stylistically it probably can be defined as “post-punk”, but there’s at least one basic rock style track, and some of the tracks wander all over the place.

Given how much I’ve blogged about Icelandic music, it’s a bit surprising to me that I’ve never written about the artist Megas except in passing.  I have a couple of CD re-releases of some of his albums from the 1970s, so I’ll probably get to them at some point.  But Megas was an important, and polarizing, part of the Icelandic music scene in the 1970s and 80s, both as a singer/musician and as a writer – in fact some of his writing was used in songs by the band I just posted about, Júdas, in 1975.  Megas put out a number of solo albums in the 70s, and RA’S 5-20 is a collaboration with Ikarus on which he wrote the words to some songs and sang on some tracks.

R’AS 5-20 was a pleasant surprise.  There is certainly a sound reminiscent of Þeyr at times, but Ikarus breaks some new ground as well, most notably (to me) on the song “LoftKastalar” (“Air Castles”), which anticipates some electronic bands with voice modulation and what even sounds a bit like some backwards masking in the music.  Absolutely the coolest song on the album.  Ironically the track that follows, “Svo Skal Böl Bæta”, is probably the most standard rock sounding song , complete with guitar solo.

Overall an interesting album.  I actually played it twice back-to-back, which is unusual for me, but there was a lot going on here and I needed a second listen to get a better feel for the work as a whole.  Frankly I didn’t expect to like it nearly as much as I do, which just goes to show that you need to go into new listening experiences with an open mind.  I have  feeling I’ll be coming back to this one again.