Icarus Himself made one of my favorite Madison albums of 2009. Coffins was a collection of emotional indie rock that proved songwriter Nick Whetro's ability to blend storytelling and dreamy acoustic guitar.
Mexico is a startling demonstration of how much Whetro's skills have advanced since then. All five of these songs are more complex in mood and construction than his last set of tracks.
"Digging Holes" is instrumentally sparse, building on a subdued guitar riff that's punctuated by the delicate staccato of an organ chord. Whetro's vocals burst in, laden with regret about saying "horrible things, terrible things." A trumpet repeats the guitar riff, reinforcing the moment's forlorn resignation.
"Girl > Boy" is a slow march bounded by the deep tones of baritone guitar and stuttering percussion. The conflicting lines "I know what you're thinking," and "I don't know your reasons" find the song ruefully navigating what's certain and uncertain about love.
Icarus Himself is increasingly garnering attention in indie rock e-zines with national influence. Mexico is sure to push the local trio's star a lot higher.