Kid Icarus was a primitive, two-dimensional platform game for the original Nintendo Entertainment System. Released in 1987, it’s since become something of a cult classic. Players controlled the fate of Pit, a tiny, pixelated protagonist whose unenviable task was to save Angel Land from the evil Medusa while wearing what looked like a diaper. Needless to say when Nintendo moved into the third dimension, Kid Icarus was not a franchise that came with them.
In this advanced age of Xboxes and PSPs, Kid Icarus lives on only in the hearts and minds of nerds like Eric Schlittler, who’s gone and named his band after the 8-bit side scroller. Schlittler’s musical philosophy is like that of a less grimey, more Pennsylvanian Mike Skinner: He writes and records (mostly) in his home studio, occasionally inviting friends to fill in any gaps.
The Metal West (out today on Schlittler’s own Summersteps Records) is KI’s third LP and, according to the press kit, Schlitter’s first crack at a “hi-fi recording.” On a scale of NES to Gamecube, the production still ranks about a Super Nintendo, but it suits the songs: West has a mellow, spacey vibe that would collapse under the weight of a slicker treatment. By himself, Schlittler sounds a bit like Elliott Smith, but when his friends show up (Justin Marchegiani, Ted Baird, and Thad Moyer on lead guitar, bass, and drums respectively) they’re Pavement on psychedelics.
Opener “Beekeepers on the Edge of Town” and the title track are two of the more immediate highlights, but the whole record benefits from repeated listening, nor does it require special cheat codes to access higher levels.
Link: Kid Icarus official site