It was some weeks ago that I saw Icko Sicko blow up Monstros Pizza with a particularly furious set, charming me into picking up their self-titled demo tape (yes, a cassette tape), and it’s convinced me that this local hardcore punk four-piece might be everything that makes DIY hardcore punk a beautiful thing.
That’s because Icko Sicko, like many of their ilk in the local punk unit “Jefferson Crew,” is nothing if not
authentic in their stubborn adherence to DIY ethos and the old school of punk rock. The quartet drenches their performance in reverb and noisy feedback, alternating between diesel-powered hardcore punk stock and midtempo stomping without warning, abusing their instruments as much as they play them. Cuts like “Burnt Out” and “Mental Prison” are particularly vitriolic thanks to an unhinged vocal performance courtesy of frontman Danny Canchola, tearing into themes of suburban alienation, blue collar banality and righteous indignance towards a world gone mad. Even the packaging of the tape itself—a black and white cassette with a xeroxed lyric sheet printed in typewriter font— is gloriously ramshackle. It’s all completely and totally unoriginal, but proudly so—Icko Sicko wear hardcore punk clichés with such confidence, conviction and loving reverence of the genre in its purest form that it becomes hard to complain. It even runs at a concise 11 minutes; hardly giving itself a chance to wear out its welcome.
Icko Sicko are not going to win over anyone that’s already unmoved by incendiary lo-fi hardcore punk, but something tells me that these punk rock Puritans would prefer it that way. For those who appreciate furiously earnest punk rock purism, though, it would be wise to listen up.