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DIVINA ICON – Little Devils (3-track enhanced promo CD)

Posted: August 28th, 2005, by Dave Stockwell

There’s little worse than the conceit of the record reviewer. Personally speaking I despise any so-called critic who moans about the free music they receive and/or the accompanying joke of a press release. This said; there are some rules of press releases that everyone should be made aware of. So here’s lesson number one:

1. Never attach a glossy photo of the band with your usual promotional guff.

Divina Icon are an extremely handy case in point. Here we have three young (or not so young) men of vaguely sketched backgrounds and a real desire to mark themselves as “different” from yer usual indierockguitars bullshitters that currently clutter up so much of London. Unfortunately, their clothes and make-up appear to have been obtained exclusively from Camden market in London. That is; they appear to be men in their twenties or thirties dressed like teenage Placebo fans. Look at their very professional website here: www.divinaicon.co.uk. (Actually, go take a look at Claudio in the gallery. Poor guy. That eyeshadow doesn’t do him any favours.)

All of this would be pointless bitching if the music didn’t sound like men in the twenties or thirties playing at being in a sub-Placebo/Smashing Pumpkins/early Manics/Suede band. Yes, that’s GLAM and GRUNGE and [WEAK AS SHIT] ROCK combined with KEYBOARDS and HORRIFIC PRODUCTION to make one slightly filthy product geared towards getting signed and making it big in continental Europe. Aha, you observe that they have lyrics that are supposedly pointing out “western social issues” and making cutting political comment about modern issues. Aha, you’re not always sure if it’s a boy or girl singing, such is vocalist Dale’s nasal whine. Aha, you hear they have power chords and are aware that you can use a distortion pedal with a guitar to have quiet verses and loud choruses (though unfortunately no wanky Billy Corgan-style solos). Ooh, they seem to have hired in a session drummer for this CD because there isn’t one in the line-up they present for your delectation. And there are keyboards and all kinds of wanky over-production thrown into the mix to show that they are not only a truly modern rock band for all ages, but they’re also prepared to throw away lot of money in order to present themselves a professionally as possible to A&R men all over the country. Oh Jesus, there goes my finger on the eject button. Oh God, the CD’s gone out the window…

So, um, yes! People who review music on the internet are horrifically conceited. Like me. But then you get bands who are horrifically conceited towards “making it”, and the promotional photograph of a band is always their calling card. Why Divina Icon didn’t just knuckle down and write some songs and start playing together instead of obviously spending far more time and money on clothes, paying people to do them a flashy website, press shots, CDs, stickers and some really bad production on their demo. I just hope it didn’t cost too much, because the results really weren’t worth it.

This review is unfair. I am not a fan of the kind of sounds that Divina Icon make, nor am I part of their target market. So I apologise wholeheartedly for my cynicism and finger-pointing. Let’s face it, I’d probably be far fairer in my attitude towards this CD if it had been recorded in a shed by three illiterate tramps. But the kind of bullshit that Divina Icon display really makes you question why people make music in the first place. Is it because of the sheer love of playing together, or a way to exorcise yourself of particular feeling, emotion or energy? Or is it because it’s all about the money? I’ve got a feeling I know what motivates these three boys, and good luck to them. Joking aside, that CD’s out on the road in front of my house. I’m going to stomp on it right now.


Dave Stockwell

David can always be relied on to end his e-mails with one of those 'np: blah blah' things in order to remind us of how much more music he listens to every day than anybody else. His interests include rockin ' out in a major style as guitarist in Souvaris, throwing frisbees from tall buildings "just to see what happens" and simply kickin' back with his bitches in a gold-plated jacuzzi.


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