Iced Ink – Music to Vacuum To

Iced Ink’s Music to Vacuum To is certainly something different, an audacious amalgamation of tasty metal riffs and swirling syncopation, all tied together with the bands signature sway, a nod to a heavy jazz influence. The album, recorded at Mama Coco’s Funky Kitchen studio/collective/behemoth is the first Iced Ink release as their current incarnation, with Mike Krenner on guitar, Ethan Meyer hitting the skins , and Gregg Mitchell holding down bass duties. The band stands as a perfect signpost for the future of progressive rock, with all indicative cheekiness and lack of tact, and are the godfathers of MCFK’s burgeoning prog contingent.

The band certainly has swing, but don’t you dare let your guard down; songs pick up on the drop of a dime, careening wildly, but always beautifully. The bands pulls out feats of musical acrobatics that less adept musicians could only hope to attempt .The opening track, “Look! It’s Rock & Roll!” invokes early Rush, without falling victim to the Canadian circle jerk. “Chainsaw & Dave vs. The Flesh Eating Rabbits,” an album highlight, is an entirely swanky endeavor, building into a full fledged fusillade. Dynamic, but always purposeful, the album is a shining example of the band’s own brand of surf-metal, a post-modern and pop-culture pastiche, that is self aware but entirely earnest. Don’t make the mistake of over thinking the album though , because it will not hesitate to bitch slap you, straight in the face. What is central here is the music and the artists’ on stage enthusiasm, it is content not form, which translates beautifully onto the record.  The band may be too smart for their own good, but the listener can only benefit.

Music to Vacuum To is a realization of supreme musicianship. The album achieves intelligence without self-indulgence, weirdness without the alienation factor many prog bands fall prey to, and breaks all cliches about what new and/or improved can mean in music. Concisely, listening to the album is a feeling akin to finally being able to sneak her away from the party and into the upstairs bedroom, the terror at the knock at the door,  but the relief to discover that it’s only her friends, checking to make sure you’re showing her a good time. You have their endorsement, but are you experienced?

-Emilio Herce

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