Track By Track: Icarus The Owl – Rearm Circuits

Icarus The Owl’s brand new release, Rearm Circuits is a journey through the band’s longevity. What that means is for this particular record, the band set aside what had been previously done and decided to think fresh and try anything to make something unique for them. What they crafted is a record that further blends the genres of pop, punk and progressive rock into a hook heavy, but technically gifted LP. Rearm Circuits boasts soaring choruses and winding riffs, atypical drum patterns and a gifted way to move their music.

Opening with the dark “Failed Transmissions,” this record showcases the band in a brand new spotlight, and one that needs to be heard throughout the 12 song record. Joey Rubenstein of Icarus The Owl was kind enough to go in depth about each song across Rearm Circuits. Listen to the record below and try to keep up with a band that uses four incredibly gifted minds to create an album that is sure to screw with end of the year lists in the last month of 2017.

Purchase Rearms Circuits here

Failed Transmissions
I remember writing the music for this song when we were on tour in Seattle. We were trying to park our van and trailer outside of Nuemos and it took us forever. The lyrics and melody came some months later, but I’ll always associate this song with Seattle.

Dream Shade
When we were writing the Pilot Waves album, we had a song called, “Rock Band Poop”, that we totally scrapped, because it was terrible. We were able to use the only cool part from that song, the bridge, and put it in this song; I’m so glad we did.

Ghosts Of Former Lives
This is definitely one of my favorites from the record. I like how simple the verses are. I’ve had the chorus in my back pocket for a while and we wrote the song around it. Usually, getting to a chorus at the 1:45 mark is a bad idea, but we felt like the main guitar riff was sort of the hook that threaded it all together anyways.

The Vanishing Point
The chorus instrumentals were written during a jam we’d always have at practice or soundcheck. There’s something so simplistic and heavy about that 5/4 rhythm we used. Actually, the whole song is in 5/4, besides the introductory drum-fill. Will definitely be fun to play live.

Coma Dreams
When we came back from our Closure In Moscow European tour, we didn’t do much band stuff. We needed space for a while. I made a demo of this song during that downtime and then the rest of the guys made it so much better later on. It’s about falling in love and ignoring the rest of the world besides the world you created together. It’s irrational and naive and probably why I love falling in love.

One day we will release the alternate version of this song that has a 1:30 long instrumental intro. We decided there was too many clean guitar intros on the album already. So, we went straight into the verse. This song is very cathartic to sing. It’s about the struggles of starting over in life when you’re in a situation that you shouldn’t be in anymore.

Do Not Resuscitate
This is definitely a harken back to older Icarus songs. The verse guitar melody sounds like something from the Goldeneye 007 video game. The screaming at the end, atop the harmonized ooo’s, is one of my favorite sounds from this record. We aren’t really a screaming band, but sometimes it is the most expressive sound for a part.

The Renaissance Of Killing Art
I remember writing the chorus melodies to this song while I was driving and listening to a midi demo of the instrumentals. It was my routine for a while, actually. On my way to and from work, I would listen to this song and sing the chorus until it got stuck in my head. It’s such a floaty chorus that I really needed to drive it home, ya know, while driving home.

Hidalgo’s Secret Hideout
We tuned all the way down to A# for part of this song. I think it’s the weirdest song on the album and one of my favorites. The verse instrumentals are really creepy and chromatic. I used this guitar pedal called the “mel9” that mimics a mellotron and it had the perfect eerie sound we were looking for.

Burial Vows
Tim sent us this cool American Football sounding song that he named “emothing”, which we promptly changed to “emothong”. It was basically what the verses are now with some other riffs that we cherry picked from. I tried to keep that vibe in tact for the verses when I wrote vocals for it. It was just missing a chorus. I gave it a poppy chorus and it became a true collaboration of our influences.

This song came together quite serendipitously. I was working on a song in a certain key and BPM, but I couldn’t nail a verse down. I had already the bridge, chorus, and ending. Tim, at the same time, sent me this instrumental part that he had for years that was in that same key and around that BPM –the vibe fit perfectly! This song reminds me of Stranger Things, lyrically. I was influenced by the upside down concept a lot.

I love taking a loop and building upon it until it finally explodes. Wow, that sentence would be a whole lot different with a ‘P’ instead of an ‘L’. Anyways, this might be my favorite song on the album. Before we recorded, I bought an Omnichord OM84 (google it. It’s rad). It has this really retro sounding midi drum machine feature on it. We looped a couple of the samples on top of each other at different times and it created this alternate rhythm that happens throughout the entire song. We also used the autoharp section of the omnichord at the very end of the song. I feel like this is the perfect last track for this album. A lot of it is about the inevitability of messing up something beautiful. We seldom learn, usually repeat the same mistakes, but we endure losing something beautiful for those rare, great moments where we get to enjoy it. We remember how great those moments are, despite how badly it may have ended, and start all over again. It’s a loop. The song is a loop. The album is a loop (spoiler alert). Fruit loops for everyone.


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