(Thanks to Sugarbear from the Marsbar Theatre for the inspiration to feature this great band).
One of many wonderful things we can depend on from our Aussie friends is brilliant music. Icehouse was no exception.
Icehouse started out as a group called Flowers formed in Sydney in 1977. The main founding member was singer/songwriter Iva Davies, who was known for his far-reaching and operatic vocals. He later changed the band’s name to Icehouse in honor of a cold flat he once lived in.
In addition to his beautiful and engaging vocals, Davies contributed his skills as a musician with guitar, bass, keyboards and oboe. With a nod to the flourishing New Wave sound, Icehouse began using synthesizers and a drum machine. An album released in 1982 called Primitive Man featured Davies on vocals, guitar, keyboard, bass and drum machine. He got an assist from Keith Forsey who supplied additional percussion and also co-produced. The album was received very well in Australia and the UK, with a lukewarm reception in the US. Davies took his show on the road, reforming with John Lloyd (drums) and Michael Hoste (keyboards) from early Icehouse days, and adding Robert Kretschmer (guitar, backing vocals), Guy Pratt (bass guitar, backing vocals) and Andy Qunta (keyboards, backing vocals).
Icehouse released the album Sidewalk in 1984. Once again a success in Australia and the UK, the US remained a tough market to crack. It wasn’t until their 1986 LP release Measure For Measure, featuring Brian Eno that they reached the #9 Billboard position with the single “No Promises.” Their most successful album, Man Of Colours, released in 1987, yielded a single called “Crazy” that climbed to #10 in the US on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock chart. It had five singles charting in the top 30 in Australia.
Throughout the 90’s and 00’s, Icehouse would again reform and tour several times, with Davies bringing his fabulous vocals to stage and recording more releases. If you haven’t already availed yourself of this sinful pleasure, do yourself a huge favor and sample the early Icehouse recordings to experience firsthand the flawless singing style and moving lyrics of an amazing artist who also created most of his own backing instrumentals. This man and his band deserved the same recognition here in the States that they justly received in their homeland.
“No Promises” via YouTube user rrrjm:
“Crazy” via YouTube user gnowangerup:
“Great Southern Land” via YouTube user downunderupover:
My favorite David Bowie song as only Iva Davies could more than adequately cover – in fact, I’d venture to say it’s better than the original.
“Heroes” (2005 live cover) via YouTube user Maiblume4:
- Icehouse 1980
- Primitive Man 1982 (aka Love In Motion UK 1983)
- Sidewalk 1984
- Measure for Measure 1986
- Man of Colours 1987
- Code Blue 1990
- Big Wheel 1993
- The Berlin Tapes 1995