Trotsky Icepick


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Trotsky Icepick kept the same band name for this release, but it wasn't really the same band. The soft art pop of the previous album is gone, replaced by a more punchy, hard-edged sound. New drummer John Rosewall came from the Last, incoming bassist Jason Kahn from Leaving Trains, and both brought a different character to the music on Baby. The new Trotsky Icepick played a less subtle but still interesting brand of indie rock, with Vitus Mataré's ironic vocals and arch delivery keeping things interesting. In fact, Baby has some very good moments; the splendid "Mar Vista Bus Stop" paired energetic, up-tempo pop guitar and nervous percussion against an anguished meditation on a crumbling relationship, and it carries a powerful emotional impact. Elsewhere the tone is lighter, as in "Bury Manilow," a breezy insult to the vapid pop king, and the anti-consumer culture anthem "Don't Buy It." Kjehl Johansen and Mataré were an excellent team of lyricists and arrangers, and their tunes carry the album. Trotsky Icepick never made another album that was quite this good due to personnel shifts and consequent loss of musical focus, but their first two albums show that they had the potential to be a pop powerhouse.

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