If you thought Kevin Barnes laid his soul out on the table for Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?, wait till you get a hold of that album's companion EP, Icons, Abstract Thee. This five-track release collects songs from the Hissing sessions that didn't make it onto the full-length (vinyl-only bonus cuts, MySpace downloads, and other orphans) and offers them up like addenda to the epic breakup saga chronicled on the former album. Where Hissing succeeded in cloaking most of the hurt in metaphor, Icons relates the rest of the story with bald-faced frankness. From a heartfelt apology to his baby daughter ("Miss Blonde Your Papa Is Failing") to the suicidal broodings of "No Conclusion," the disintegration of Barnes' marriage takes the center stage again -- with the same bouncy, overblown, and jubilant songcrafting that tricked you into thinking Hissing was a "feel-good" album the first time you spun it. Lyrically dark, brooding, and self-defeating, Icons is anything but (as far as the music itself is concerned). Shut out the gloomy diary entries, and the EP shines as a catchy, summery, effervescent, day-driving soundtrack -- full of DAW trickery and loopy fun -- but if you follow along with the lyric sheet in hand, be prepared to feel a little tinge of guilt for snooping around in someone else's journal.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by J. Scott McClintock