It’s fitting that “Dig Archaeology: Thirteen Years of Lost Songs 1999-2012,” a retrospective collection of demos and rarities from Dunmore-based indie rock act Kid Icarus, has been released on cassette by analog-lovin’ label Hope for the Tape Deck. So much of the band’s identity is steeped in nostalgia, from its chosen moniker (swiped from a semi-obscure NES video game) to its lo-fi, D.I.Y. recording style.
For long-time local music buffs, “Dig Archeology” likewise provides a welcome hit of nostalgia. Though Kid Icarus has maintained a somewhat low profile over the years, the band – really the brainchild of vocalist/guitarist and Summersteps Records label head Eric Schlittler – has a significant place in the history of the modern NEPA music scene.
Thus, hearing earlier, more stripped-down versions of tracks from old Kid Icarus albums, such as “Firecracker Girls” from “Maps of the Saints” or “The Murderess” from “The Metal West,” is illuminating. Like looking at photographs of the same person from different eras in their life, the resemblances are obvious, but the differences are more intriguing.
If you really want to talk intriguing, though, you can’t do better than never-before-released tracks, such as the bittersweet, dryly humorous homage to David Cronenberg’s “The Fly,” “Telepod Blues,” or the infectiously bouncy “Haunted House/Piano Tuner III.”
Of course, this being a collection of outtakes, experiments, and oddities, don’t expect much cohesion from track to track, not in terms of style or production quality. Really, though, that too is fitting. Kid Icarus isn’t just about nostalgia. It’s also about reappraisal, about taking old, imperfect, and just plain weird sounds and finding beauty in them.
“Dig Archaeology” is a warm, warts-and-all portrait of Kid Icarus in all its quirky, folky, lo-fi indie rock glory. The gems here may be dirty, but they’re still gems.
Kid Icarus ‘Dig Archaeology: Thirteen Years of Lost Songs 1999-2012’ Rating: W W W V