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Icarus Peel — Stratoblaster
(Mega Dodo no#, 2023, CD / DL)

by Henry Schneider, Published 2023-07-31

Stratoblaster Cover art

June 23, 2023 saw the release of Icarus Peel’s (The Honey Pot, Acid Reign, Crystal Jacquelline, etc.) latest album, Stratoblaster. It is a bit of a departure from a typical Peel outing in that the album is nearly all instrumental tracks. What you do notice is that with each release, Peel only gets better. He co-wrote many of the tunes with his friends who are also featured on the album: Mitch Griffin (drummer with The Jacks), Andy Budge (bassist with The Cary Grace Band), and the inimitable Mordecai Smyth (drum programming and Mellotron). In addition Rob Gould provided keyboards on several tracks, and of course Crystal Jacqueline provided backing vocals on the Marianne Faithful cover “Witches Song.” The album is one strong set of tunes from the opening note on “Mordrunner,” where Icarus channels the late John Cippollina’s guitar lines similar to “The Fool” to the closing notes on Peel’s rocking cover of Jimi Hendrix’ “If 6 Were 9.” Each track is unique, from blistering guitar solos, raw aggression, rock-a-billy, bucolic acoustic, to trippy psych. Icarus has certainly learned from the masters like Link Wray, and of course Cippollina and Hendrix. Plus there is the “Hurdy Gurdy Man” inspired “Temple Bell Chorus” that is an amalgam of Donovan’s classic and Steve Hillage’s “Hurdy Gurdy Glissando.” The highlight for me is “Witches Song” featuring Icaraus on lead vocals. And listening to Marianne Faithful’s original, I see the similarity in Crystal Jacqueline’s vocal style. Stratoblaster is quite an impressive album and one sure to please all Icarus Peel fans, as well as attract new ones.

Filed under: New releases, 2023 releases

Related artist(s): Crystal Jacqueline (Bourne), Mordecai Smyth, Icarus Peel, Rob Gould, The Jacks

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