In the last week or two I’ve been reflecting on the fact that trends may come and go, but certain things, certain genres just keep on trucking no matter what. Like, we’re told what’s cool but then along come bands and go: “Yeah we’ll play what we like, thanks very much.”

A disclaimer: I gave the last Liar Thief Bandit album 10/10 and the one before that essentially made me fall in love with music again (no joke) so yeah. “Icon” is similarly iconic.

Ever since The Backyard Babies sneered “Look at you, man” in the late 90s, this sort of stuff has been my thing and the reason is “The Ultimate Sign” is the sort of thing that’s never changed. Ever since The Hellacopters invented what they now call “Action Rock” (Lord Knows why) it’s been about energy and guitar.

And that’s “Death Pioneer”. The damn thing starts with a guitar solo, and if the choruses don’t sweep you along, then you aren’t trying. It doesn’t matter that it talks of “blood red skies”, it sounds happy, likewise the bass groove of “Dying Efforts”. Here there’s no time for a second chance, they want liberation – yet, they’ve all found vindication in rock n roll.

The lyrics seem more raw on this occasion. But they hide it. “It All Goes Away In The End” with its tinges of Lizzy, “Recoil” with its utterly magnificent chorus, is full of regret, on “Retaliation” the hook poses a simple question: will I ever be remembered when I’m gone. Look, if I’ve got anything to do with it, the answer is “hell, yes!”

This album relies on those hooks, though. My god. “Red Out Of The Blue” underlines that in dayglo, and “Traces Of Use” keeps it going.

Bass man Niklas Dahre plays a blinder and things get heavier on “Can’t Slow Me Down” which reasons that “I’m doing things my way” and almost dares you to stop them. “Residence Sorrow” proves there’s no slacking, right to the solo, this is perfect.

The confidence that flows through this is in “icon”.

The problem with loving a band this much is you tend to use your best lines and last time I said “Have you ever listened to The Hellacopters and thought “I wish they sounded more like Thin Lizzy? If so, Liar Thief Bandit are the band for you”.

That all still applies, “Icon” is another incredible release from a band that has no right to be this far below the radar.

Rating 9/10

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