There are three things in music that I’m a huge sucker for: acoustic guitars, strings, and great voices. Now, direct your attention to The Icarus Account. Before Carry Me Home, they had numbers one and three down. The acoustic-based act made up of twins Ty and Trey Turner have been writing catchy pop songs for over half a decade. Their last full length, 2009’s Love Is the Answer, caught my attention with the strength of songs like “Stay” and “So In Love,” while the Sunshine and Rain and Keeper Of Your Heart EPs showed plenty of growth and established them as an act to keep watching. With Carry Me Home, they’ve expanded their sound to include more piano and strings while finding a greater balance both between songs fronted by Ty and Trey and between catchy, upbeat tracks and more flowing, mature ones. The result is a record that includes some of the pair’s best work to date.
From the bouncy guitar intro of “She Walks Away,” it’s clear that the Chase Coy-provided production of Carry Me Home is going to be very sleek. Even in the more intimate moments near the beginning of the track, Ty’s melodies sink their hooks into your ears and refuse to let go, and this element of the song only expands when the chorus hits. The textural change in the second verse is a nice shift, and the almost-acapella portion of the bridge adds a nice sense of balance. All around, the song sets the record off on a high point. “Dancing At the Terminal” is a little cliche in terms of lyrical content, and the line “she was wearing red at the terminal” is perhaps a little too reminiscent to the line “she’s got a red dress that she wears all the time” that kicks off the previous track. Luckily, the rest of the song is so good that it’s easy to ignore. The harmonies at the beginning are fantastic, and the minimalistic drums fit the guitar parts perfectly. On top of that, the melodies are very well-written, as they prove to be throughout the rest of the record.
“Anything & Everything” gives the album’s first full taste of Trey’s voice. A little airier than Ty’s, it provides a change in pace and is better suited to the sorts of songs that are a little more deliberate – a description that certainly fits this one. Rich in strings and featuring some beautiful piano work, this track is dynamic and soothing. Trey’s voice is spot-on throughout, and Ty’s backing vocals toward the end make for a strong finish. “I Love You Always” is another Trey-fronted song but is further along the pop spectrum. The line “we’re in love like the love that’s in our favorite songs” in the chorus just demands to be all over Facebook in posts by girls in happy relationships, and there are plenty of hooks to be found throughout. The lyrical content of “Emily” is a little reminiscent of “The Subway Song” from the Keeper Of Your Heart EP, focusing on unknowingly unrequited attraction. The guitars sound great and Ty’s voice shines. Be sure to check out the live acoustic version they released recently – it’s just as good as the album version, and the video element shows exactly how talented these two are.
As “Called You Twice” builds up from a reserved opening to a soaring chorus, strings play alongside heartfelt vocals and well-constructed piano and acoustic guitar parts. The short bit of quiet following the first chorus pulls your ears back for more, and the instrumental break that comes after the second one leads perfectly into the bridge. The lyrics are full of longing while the strings at the very end make for a nice little interlude into “Love Is Not Supposed to End This Way,” which is a definite highlight. Inspired by the twins’ parents’ recent divorce, it’s the most serious song on the record and grows from an intimate beginning to an huge middle section, with plenty of beautiful instrumental parts along the way. When the dynamic level retreats back down to the barer moment just before the four-minute mark, it’s one of the most gripping moments of the album and distinguishes this as perhaps the best song in the pair’s entire discography.
The reflective “Too Young for This Love” brings the mood back up a bit but maintains an element of nostalgia as the lyrics look back on love lost long ago. It’s a very pretty song, serving as an interesting counterpoint to the previous track with similar ideas in a completely different setting, with a different vocalist and a decidedly more upbeat perspective. “Take It or Leave It” keeps up with the ongoing theme of love’s end, placing some of the album’s best lyrics in a moderately intimate setting and maintaining a strong sense of melody. Trey’s voice sounds fantastic throughout, and the layering near the end is executed perfectly. “All I Need” is a piano and strings-driven ballad in the same vein as “Love Is Not Supposed to End This Way” and “Sunshine and Rain,” from the EP of the same name. From Ty and Trey sharing the line in the bridge that gives this album its title to the beautiful instrumentals and the way Ty’s voice quivers almost to the point of breaking from emotion, the song ends the record just right.
Without a doubt, this is the most complete package The Icarus Account has ever released. With a healthy balance of catchy love songs toward the beginning and a greater focus on more mature material closer to the end, the band shows that they’re able to attack stories of love and loss from multiple perspectives while maintaining a strong sense of melodic and harmonic beauty. It’s incredible to hear how they have grown in the three years since Love Is the Answer to completely flesh out their sound to include more piano, strings, and drums to complement the acoustic guitars. The trading off of lead vocal duties makes for a listen that’s varied enough to maintain interest the whole way through. The only real fault I note is that some of the lyrics can become a bit cliche and repetitive, which is bound to happen when writing about something as ever-present as love and its end. This is the sort of album that’s just begging to blow up on non-dance-based pop stations, full of catchy hooks and pleasant instrumental parts throughout. And, with how far they’ve progressed over the years, I can’t wait to see what these two do next.