NAME: Tom Mansi & the Icebreakers
ALBUM: Perils a Plenty
LABEL: Metric Acorn
FIVE WORD REVIEW: They don’t take themselves seriously.
LOCATION: London, UK
LINE UP: Paul White (guitar), Alain Man (keyboard), James Johnston (drums) Tom Mansi (upright bass, vocals)
WHAT’S THE STORY?: Tom Mansi & the Icebreakers are quite the surprise package, if we’re being honest here. The front cover leaves a lot to be desired as it looks a bit like a crap, faux-ironic heavy metal album. Luckily, it’s so much more than that – just don’t try to figure out what genre the band is.
Straight away, there’s a certain level of Kings of Leon about Tom Mansi and co, though without the haze that stops the Kings from pronouncing any hard consonants. Or, in fact, putting any life into most of their lyrics. There’s all kinds of fun to be had here: blues (‘Man Overboard’); rock (‘What Life Brings’, ‘Man Made Man’); Munsters-style organ-based surfer funk (‘Suzanne’; ‘Unstoppable [Freak]‘); and backing music to a murder mystery (‘Gino’).
Even better, there’s a song called ‘Donkey, Punch & Judy’. Cap doffed. It’s the kind of song title you’d think of then take the day off in self-celebration.
Then again, they probably play this music on said day off – it seems like they have so much damn fun. The aforementioned seaside and sexual practice-based tune is a classic example of them dicking around in a relatively crude way, but doing it with style.
Some will criticise them for not taking their work too seriously, particularly as they clearly have a lot of talent. In the words of Frank Zappa: “HOGWASH I say!” They clearly enjoy what they’re doing and it’s hard not to see this bunch transferring their real energy to a live stage.
Nonetheless, it’s still a little hard to shake the feeling that they’re awkwardly seizing upon the underplayed genre that is quasi-surfer rock, though other bands have tried their hand at it and come out much worse for their troubles.
It’s not a perfect album, nor is it mindblowingly diverse. Still, it’s not at all bad in its attempt; replay value could be low, though. Try it and find out; you’ll spend your money on much worse.
SOUNDS LIKE: Key players in US rock from the last fifty years chipping in at the same time, with mixed results – generally positive.
YOU’LL LIKE THIS IF: You want to put something on when you’ve had a few drinks and want to pick up your spirits. Then drink more spirits.
Submitted By Matt Gardner