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Icicle Works, The

The Icicle Works formed in Liverpool in 1980 when bassist Chris Layhe answered an advertisement for a musical collaborator placed by 20-year-old Ian McNabb. The two got together and started writing and in 1981 recorded a six-song independently released cassette (Ascending), later being joined by drummer Chris Sharrock.

In 1982 they released the independent single Nirvana, signing to Beggars Banquet the following year and releasing the single Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream).

Their biggest UK hit came in 1983 with the anthemic, neo-psychedelic Love Is a Wonderful Colour, which was a Top 15 single in the UK Singles Chart.

Their eponymous debut album (1984) followed shortly thereafter, reached #24 on the UK Albums Chart and reached the Top 40 on the US Billboard 200 chart.

After the release of their debut album, The Icicle Works struggled to match their initial commercial success but continued to receive critical acclaim as a live band and secured a loyal fan base both in the UK and abroad.

In September 1984 the band issued the single Hollow Horse and the folk-rock inspired Seven Horses. 1987’s If You Want To Defeat Your Enemy, Sing His Song was a collection of large, storming and anthemic rock songs, including the loud live favourite Understanding Jane.

Blind (1988), perfectly showcased McNabb’s big, rounded vocals while the disappointing follow-up, Permanent Damage (1990) saw original bassist Chris Layhe and drummer Chris Sharrock depart.

The band continued to enjoy acclaim in the UK, US and Japan but struggled to reclaim their initial chart success.

McNabb still performs as a solo artist. Chris Sharrock has worked for The Lightning Seeds and Robbie Williams.

The band took their name from a 1959 sci-fi short story by Frederick Pohl entitled The Day The Icicle Works Closed.

Ian McNabb
Vocals, guitar, keyboards
Chris Layhe 

Bass, keyboards, vocals
Chris Sharrock