[Album Review] Ice Cream- Love, Ice Cream
Reader Rating: (1 Vote)


Release Date:  June 3rd, 2016
Label:  Bad Actors / Last Gang

Love, Ice Cream is a record that is filled with an erotic musk. It is one that is hard to fight due to its spellbinding nature. For Toronto’s Ice Cream, hushing a crowd can easily be done two ways: actually handing out ice cream or using their instrumentation to smother you to the point of swooning. It is a shame that the record’s faults stem from an intolerable blend of sounds. Despite this, there is an aspect of Ice Cream that is simply endearing. Though tracks have an isolation to them, there is the genuine feeling that each song is a snippet–each song becomes a story happening in a different apartment unit.

“Plastic” has a peculiar walk-in-the-park rhythm that bears a disorienting quality. Throughout the track, the bass makes no simple stops, having the feeling that it is ubiquitous. Combined with the percussive elements, the track is a Rube Goldberg machine that goes through its motions. “Veronica” works similarly with its bass, yet it focuses on a beat that is more pulp noir in nature. Disjointed rhythms add to the corrupted and captivating instrumentation. The misty sound is what brings forth the imagined musk that would last until the finale (“Dress Me Up”).

Oddly coordinated tones are what burden Love, Ice Cream. “Receiver”‘s massaging reverberation is ruined when silky melodies clash with rusty strings. “Material” suffers from an awkward blend of bass and keyboard tones. “BP,” an instrumental track, avoids these issues while still bringing a risky experimentation to the mix. Sirens do not become overbearing, and oscillating, watery keys are unexpected but coherent. These are the sounds of a sensuality that, while not reaching its peak, effortlessly arouses.

Lyrically is where Ice Cream shine. There is a strength to the innuendo of “Plastic.” “Oh, baby/ Yeah, we’re both fakes/ But you don’t know how good a little plastic can taste.” These words tell of how good it is to be fake, while also making a statement of sex. These lovers want to be tasted; they know the power they have. The words are a mantra, much like the “Hello…” in “Receiver.” The instrumentation might be fast, but the imagery and approach is slow. The encounter is what Ice Cream want to slowly establish, and for that, they know how to tend to an audience.

Even if tracks like “Fired Up” and “Science” lack finesse, “Veronica” and “Material” do more than enough to stabilize Love, Ice Cream. “Veronica” hones in on the titular woman and expresses a love for her that is both rhythmic and not. “What’s your story, Ronnie?” is the pivotal question asked to build Veronica as a moving force. We never see or hear her, yet the love she gains and the mystery of her character leaves us wanting answers, no matter how haunting they might be. When “Material” plays, we feel somewhat hypocritical when we still crave the possessions Ice Cream think about. Yet it is this guilt, passion, and fakeness that drives Love, Ice Cream to its core.

Though Ice Cream feel like they drive through tunnels in “Dress Me Up,” there is still the ever-flowing nature and desire for sex that guides. With each repeat of the titular line, there is the sense that in the sexual setting, when we love our lovers and they love us, we crave demands and commands. Love, Ice Cream is a record that commands us, knowing of a mutual love between the listener and the band. It entrances us in its isolated snippets because it has that power. Ice Cream realize, from the onset, that both parties should have equal power in the relationship. There is no rushing or imbalance of power–only absolute love.