ICO - Le StelleYou know the feeling. Yes, you do. You know, EXACTLY. The one where you’re on a roller coaster, one of the old fashioned ones that climbs slowly but inexorably to the top of a wooden slatted “hill” before plunging downwards, courtesy of gravity and some excellent mechanical engineering. That stomach churning, thrill fear sensation: the oh my god, where’s this going combination of fear and exhilaration. Well, that’s exactly the feeling I have on listening to the tremendous new album from Tuscan mathcore/ progressive/bonkers mad outfit Incoming Cerebral Overdrive.

Coming new to ICO, I wasn’t sure what to expect but someone who knows me and my music taste pretty well said: you’re gonna be impressed, in fact, you’re going to be really positive. He was wrong: I’m more than really positive: I’m ecstatic about it. It’s full of energy and ideas, it’s singular and relentless in its vision, it’s completely stark staring bonkers mad. Its nowhere near as offensive as their name might suggest and is as enjoyable a listen as it is absurd an execution.

“Sirius B” sounds like Mastodon after a bad acid trip, with angular guitar parts and odd time changes that create a sense of aural discomfort that,perversely, is actually quite pleasurable. “Mirzam” sounds like the opening guitar part to AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” if it had been put through a blender before heading off on a myriad of tangents and diversions: it’s inventive, creative and hooks you in almost immediately. “Bellatrix” is a carbon charred heavy song, driven and caustic. “Adhara” is just, well, mad: wild, frenetic but compelling throughout. Top of the pile though is the the eleven minutes that make up closing track “Rigel”. It’s effectively an aural triptych,encapsulating all the album’s ideas in a brilliant psychedelic aural space opera. It has a great mid section that will have Mogwai doffing their caps in admiration of and a bucket of dynamism to go with it.

This is not one of those records that you can put on whilst you idle away in the kitchen or when you’re looking for what to wear before you head out on a Saturday night. This is a record that is enormously demanding in terms of your attention: it bellows at you to stop what you’re doing and invest time with it from aggressive beginning to monolithic end. I think you should too, as it has many qualities to admire, enjoy and be enthralled by.  For such an obviously difficult and challenging record, “Le Stelle” is also surprisingly accessible. It doesn’t have some of the “phew! I now need a rest” that some mathcore does; weirdly, it’s been my choice for the commute home: yeah, I know it’s a funny way to relax but, trust me, it works.

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