The Icicle Works – Remastered

I’ve mentioned Ian McNabb previously, and now I’ve got an excuse to talk about his original band, The Icicle Works. The self-titled début album[1] has been remastered, repacked, reissued and reinvigorated to mark the 25th anniversary of the band’s formation. There’s a lot of that sort of thing going on, some of which is very good, and some of which is a cynical marketing exercise. And then there are packages like this, assembled with more than a little love and care. Something that actual fans will really want. They’ll have to be quick, as this three disk package is limited to 1500 copies world-wide. Inside the box are three cardboard sleeves, each with a protective inner sleeve to make sure the CDs don’t get scratched. There’s also a very nicely produced booklet. Anyway, on with the CDs:

Disc 1

This is the original album, as released in 1984, in a replica of the original album sleeve (well, it’s a bit smaller, being a CD rather than a 12″ piece of vinyl), complete with the lyric sheet (small print, you’re better off reading the words in the booklet, but it’s nice to look at). Not only that, but the CD artwork is a small circle in the middle – a copy of the original record label. And it’s been very carefully remastered from the original tapes. It’s come across very well indeed, sounding a lot clearer than the previous CD. It includes the hit singles Love is a Wonderful Colour and Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream). I think the latter was also a hit in the US, where (if memory serves[2]) it had the title swapped around to Whisper to a Scream (Birds Fly). Unless I imagined that bit.

Disc 2

This is the usual kind of second disc you’d expect in a reissue: tracks recorded for John Peel’s Radio 1 show, other BBC session tracks, B-sides, a long version of Love is a Wonderful Colour (this was the era when everybody was doing extended versions on the 12″ singles) and a different mix of Birds Fly. The B-sides include The Athiest and much more. A nice package.

Disc 3

The third disc, only to be found in this limited edition set, is something a wee bit different. It provides an alternative version of the album made up from BBC session tracks (four for John Peel, six for David Jensen), plus two extra songs. It’s a nice way of getting some more session tracks, and gives another angle on a classic album. Very nice indeed.


This has been put together very well. Along with the album lyrics and lots of photographs of the band, there’s an introduction from Ian, a longish article by their manager Tony Barwood and a short piece by Merseyside DJ Con McConville. Good, informative, and enthusiastic stuff.

If you’re thinking of buying this, or indeed any Ian McNabb or Icicle Works material, can I suggest you pay a visit to Townsend Records? Not only do they give Ian a lot of support, but they can also sell you a limited edition lyric sheet for Love is a Wonderful Colour, signed by Ian. Mine’s number 386 out of 750.

Special packages like this are mostly for existing fans, but they’re also a great way to discover a band you don’t know much about. Now when’s the special edition of If You Want To Defeat The Enemy Sing His Song coming out?

[1] If I keep using phrases like that, someone might take pity on me and pay me to write reviews for the music press :lol:
[2] It rarely does :uhoh: