Our Ill Wills is, in my opinion, one of the best albums of the last decade, exceeding the huge potential on display with the bands' 2005 debut Howl Howl Gaff Gaff. It took some time to grow on me, but Work eventually won me over with its stripped down, "no frills, bells, or whistles" approach. This is all to say that Shout Out Louds have been a favorite of mine for quite a while, so I was obviously excited to hear the new track, "Blue Ice."
Unfortunately, this experience wasn't quite as transcendent as I was hoping for. Add to this the gimmick of making a 7" out of ice and we're wandering it some bizarre, ridiculous territory a band of this caliber should not be plodding around in.
For a single, "Blue Ice" is underwhelming, feeling more like a b-side (and yet failing to even hit upon the immediacy and power of "Can't Explain," the b-side for Work's lead single "Fall Hard"), not a long-awaited new track and introduction to an upcoming work. Where Work succeeded by stripping down the Wall of Sound and layers of instrumentation of Our Ill Wills, "Blue Ice" sputters, its simplicity and delivery eddying around familiar territory for the band, but never really finding any momentum—hell, Adam Olenius sounds half-bored delivering the utterly uninspired line, "This blue ice came out of the blue." It's a pretty song to have on in the background of a coffee shop, but upon any sort of examination the composition is surprisingly stagnant, its best moments being an instrumental section in the middle of the track.
Hopefully "Blue Ice" is just a hiccup and not indicative of where the band is creatively. Fingers crossed, eh?