By: Jessica Grose
Somehow it’s unsurprising that a band called Test Icicles is aggressively masculine in an adolescent way, particularly when you learn that two thirds of the band is years away from being legal, at least on American shores. The trio consists of 19-year-olds Sam Mehran and Devonte Hynes, and 25-year-old Rory Atwell. The band’s boyish belligerence becomes even less shocking when you learn that an earlier incarnation of Test Icicles was called Balls. It’s not to say the band-formerly-known-as-Balls isn’t great in its own juvenile way: When their insolent teen voices chant phrases on “Boa vs. Python,” you can almost see the sneers on their faces.
Test Icicles play the role of house band at a monster mash. The synthesizers woven through Test Icicles’ debut EP Boa vs. Python sound positively Transylvanian in places, particularly on the title track where creepy digital organs echo throughout a church of the damned.
But it’s not all shouty jams with the Test(es). Even though tracks like “What’s in the Box” are straightforward Radio 4-style boogie tunes, there are also elements of hardcore and hints of hip-hop in Boa vs. Python. “LMNO Hoes” sounds like a Coachwhips outtake, but with cowbell. Listening to “LMNO” makes you picture a room of kids writhing up against each other, beads of sweat and drool flying off the undulating mass while Test Icicles screams incoherently at the crowd.
It’s no wonder that Boa vs. Python has such an eclectic set of influences, considering the cosmopolitan backgrounds of Sam Mehran and Devonte Hynes. Mehran grew up in Miami, Australia, London, and New York, while Hynes, a Texas native, moved to Edinburgh, Scotland as a wee one. The Test Icicles are London boys these days, though and they’ll be playing a handful of dates around their home city in the coming weeks. They’re bringing their spazzy brand of rock stateside for a handful of shows later this month, one with Art Brut and the Occasion.
Test Icicles U.S. shows:
11/9, New York, NY (Cake Shop) 11/11, Brooklyn, NY (Northsix)* (* with Art Brut and the Occasion)