The Emperors of Ice Cream might not be a name known to a lot of you, but let’s hope this changes shortly. Their second full length album Vice Cream is 30 minutes of taut mutated rock that takes detours into drone, acid punk with catchy poppy hooks.
Musically this is the tightest we’ve heard The Emperors. The songs have been stripped of any excess fat and are muscular things to embrace. ‘So It’s Said‘ is a rippling beast that opens with a blistering riff and drumming that grabs you by the lapels, shakes you around a bit and doesn’t let go until it abruptly stops. The songs that work the best on Vice Cream are the ones when The Emperors’ world view is concise and to the point. ‘Time Travel’ is a prime example. The main riff feels like something The Coral discarded as it was too wayward for them, but The Emperors just run with it and embrace the wonkiness. The standout track is the album closer ‘Boy’. This 11 minute monster and everything about it feels measured and ideally weighted. It opens slow and steady then gradually builds in pace, tone and texture as it progresses, until it’s a seething mass of riffs, drumming and bass. When it reaches its zenith, ‘Boy’ is a droney hypnotic wonder. At times you wish it would never end but, like all good things, it does. Then it all starts up again, but a bit more aggy and malicious.
And this is what Vice Cream does best. It takes a catchy riff, or clever idea, and just runs with it until The Emperors are certain the idea has been exhausted/utilised to its full potential. Previously The Emperors’ have either worn their influences on their sleeves a bit too prominently, like a well-placed band patch/badge on a jacket. Your eye is immediately drawn to it, meaning you’ve made your mind up about the person before you’ve given them a chance. In the past the band has been so enthused to show you the music they like and trying to show how they can re-interrupt it that it hasn’t always translated as a fully formed listening experience. However on Vice Cream The Emperors’ have crafted some incredibly enjoyable and incentive songs. Can we have another portion of this, and soon!
The independently released Vice Cream is out now.