Hailing from Montreal, Quebec comes singer/songwriter and all-round music maker Krassy Halatchev, better known to you and I as Icicle. Founder at Herd Records he has been releasing solo material annually for a good few years and this album of 13 original cuts has found its way to RR Towers. With no awareness of his music beforehand I had a good listen and here are my thoughts…

The LP opens with “Score”, setting the scene with an instrumental that could’ve been used in a British 70’s detective series – short but sweet and setting the scene for what follows…

“Murder is Murder” is a much more intricate work, fusing throbbing basslines with clever sampling and loops dropped in randomly. The vocal (albeit briefly) reminds me of Neil Tennant. The song has an 80’s Electro tempo with clear, audible vocals that match the twisted guitar lines and winding samples. It has an infectious sound that holds one’s interest throughout, while the sample-led bridge is lengthy, and the rounded vocal takes the song to a sharp conclusion.

“Smiling Sacred Smiles” is a more measured song that holds a similar style to its predecessor. The underlying Funk overtone masks the somewhat socially aware lyricism. Stereo MC’s come to mind with the vocal style as it just breezes along. Gentle percussive tapping in the bridge as it takes on an almost Reggae vibe winding to its conclusion, where those pure driven vocals kick back in.

“Demon Demon” keeps the tempo light, more simple sampling nestling in the background behind cymbal-led drum-tapping. It livens up somewhat mid-song but quickly returns to its gentler pace. Lyrically I’m guessing it’s in the personal ballpark, maybe an ode to lost love and reflection. Another elaborate bridge shows a different side to the band – experimentally taking the song to its conclusion.

“Days of Glory” stays with personal themes, set to an easy on the ear piano-led part. Peppered sampling here and there keeps one curious while gentle tapping mid-song accompanies eerie sampling that leaves me mesmerised. It sounds like film score type music but in a different setting. It being the longest cut on the album I feel it could have made its mark in under four minutes – but the piano finale keeps your attention where you might have moved to the next track on first listen?!

“Carpe Diem” opens with a keys section that has a more Dark Wave/Post Goth tempo. The kettle drum tapping is a constant while the vocals are at best understated. The guitar lines display a point of difference that I for one see as a departure from earlier tracks. The way the song weaves in and out just holds your attention, while the vocal never wavers.

“The Prince the Princess Played” is a more poppy affair – the brass sections at least display its Funk Heart as heard earlier. The personal themes are masked by the title, but the main verse gives it away!

“Burning House” plays with sampling again and that David Tennant-esque vocal comes to the fore once more. It’s Dancey with a clubby feel, but equally has a chart-friendly vibe. The bridge is pure Ashes To Ashes-era Bowie which just takes one back in time.

“In My PJ’s, I’m the DJ” – great title! Slightly self-indulgent, bordering on spoken word – but no less important on this collection. Nice, simple acoustic guitar and accompanying drum tapping, yet the bridge to the finish (IMO) is overlong.

“The Wonderful Smack” begins with a wonderful (sic) almost whistled sample. The arty vocal then kicks in, direct and assured. A few substance references makes one think/ponder a little while, enjoying where the song might direct you next? A whirring, buzzing sample opens the bridge before returning to that infectious sample that opened proceedings.


“Sooner or Later” starts with a European-sounding sample piece – it’s Electro, it’s Euphoric and yet remains grounded. Waves and swathes of sampling, bleeps and assorted noises and I find myself waiting for a vocal to kick in? But you just know this is the ‘live, mid-set breather song’!

“The Last Bullet’s For You” – interesting title on a song that veers throughout. More experimentation with all manner of sounds while staying in the personal ballpark lyrically. It displays a weird ’80’s Post/Punk/Electro vibe – kinda Tubeway Army meets Visage!! Another great ending.

“We Are Both To Blame” – as with at least half the cuts on this collection, I feel the main subject matter is one of a personal nature/relationship/heartache/loss etc. This song is one of finality. Putting personal thoughts into song is nothing new – hey, love songs/lost love – it’s what makes the world go round!!

Icicle may not be your average Radio Friendly/Chart Friendly artist, far from it. But Underground artists are just as relevant in today’s overcrowded musical arena. If sampling, experimentation, intricate bridges and long endings are your thing then take a punt on this artist – the trick in this industry is always to try and be unique and barring one or two influences I have sighted, this is a collection worth more than one listen. I’m not aware of any artists/bands from Montreal, or even if they have a scene – but this is one artist that deserves to be heard by a wider audience.

Disclaimer: this album came out in March 2021, such is the beauty of Messenger it only reached me this year!!

Track listing
Murder is Murder
Smiling Sacred Smiles
Demon, Demon
Days of Glory
Carpe Diem
The Prince the Princess Played
Burning House
In My PJ’s I’m The DJ
This Wonderful Smack
Sooner or Later
The Last Bullet’s for You
We Are Both to Blame


Review by Ross A. Ferrone.