Icarus EP

01. New Groove
02. Frak The Gods
03. Jetpacks Was Yes v2.0
04. Icarus Lives!
05. Icarus Lives! (Bulbous Remix)
06. Icarus Lives! (Zedd Remix)
07. Icarus Lives! (PeteyG Remix)
08. Captain On
09. Eureka!

[Sumerian Records]

In an effort to tie over fans while they work on the followup to their debut album (which snatched my number one spot in 2010 by the skin of its teeth), Periphery‘s Icarus EP offers up a collection of reworked singles, b-sides, and a brand new track—centered around their hit song “Icarus Lives!” and its various remixes.

Icarus EP opens with the instrumental “New Groove,” which Periphery have been performing as an intro for their live show for some time now. There’s not much to it despite its hard-hitting percussive nature. The major selling point for the EP lies in the new track “Frak The Gods,” which splits the difference between Spencer Sotelo’s noticeably improved harsh screaming and soulful singing. “Frak The Gods” is a top-notch Periphery song in its progressive structure with varied parts and a recurring visceral chorus that seems to tie in with “Icarus Lives!” Despite the song’s excellence, there’s a spot early on in the song where the vocals are buried in the mix—unfortunate, as the rest of the song is so damn good.

“Jetpacks Was Yes v2.0” is an extended version of the original from Periphery, complete with re-recorded vocals and a new section added to the bridge. “Jetpacks” sounds better than before, sounding even more passionate and clear. The harsh vocals have been replaced with singing, and it works quite well given the almost ballad-like nature of the song. “Icarus Lives!” continues the trend of re-recorded vocal tracks, improving upon the much critiqued vocal performance. Spencer’s singing seems more comfortable here, and the harsh vocals feel much more full. The new version of “Icarus Lives!” feels more intense, and it plays well with the playful yet cocky lyrics.

And like that, we hit a lull in the EP. The “Icarus Lives!” remix tracks are largely unnecessary and could have been put together much better. I was never really a fan of remixes to begin with, but Misha’s own “Bulbous Remix” is disappointing, basically amounting to a generic dance beat with the vocal track sliced up in a sporadic manner. It actually sounds the most amateurish of the three remixes. The “Zedd Remix” uses musical themes from the original song, which is something that remixes tend to lack. The inevitable dubstep remix in the “PeteyG Remix” is actually the better of the three, but it’s a novelty that will likely lose appeal after a few listens.

The tail-end of the EP features b-sides of the album that have previously been released in some form or another, but here they are together in a convenient package. “Captain On,” previously an iTunes exclusive, is one of the finer Periphery tracks out there, being my own personal soundtrack to contentment. “Eureka!” was previously released for free via Roadrunner, the band’s European label. This track also sports its own new-and-improved vocal tracks, but the song has always failed to stand apart for me when compared to their other material. “Eureka!” is by no means a bad song, however; it seems to be lacking an identity. For some inexplicable reason though, the outro of the song sees the South Park Jersey Shore episode reference“Snookie Want Smoosh Smoosh; Smoosh Smoosh Smoosh” repeated through voice modulation. [Thanks MarkPopkie!]

Despite any harsh criticisms, Icarus EP is worth having for the non-remix tracks. If you’re not already a fan of Periphery, then it’s pretty much a given that this isn’t meant for you. Fans should find plenty of enjoyment out of Icarus EP, and is definitely worth looking into. Hearing Spencer’s improvement as a frontman is quite promising; I’ve always loved his performance before, but when you listen to the new tracks and originals side-by-side, his growth is plain as day. Here’s hoping he gets more ballsy as he gets more comfortable.

Periphery – Icarus EP gets…


– JR


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