(photo by Steve Brummell)
RELEASE REVIEWS'PERMISSIBLE PERMUTATIONS' album
"The debut album from The Melting Ice Caps is a delight; chock full of wonderfully crafted songs and beautiful singing. It's... just what happens when someone savours singing every word and takes great care when writing every word and crafting melodies."
- Russell's Music Reviews
"Permissible Permutations is an achingly exquisite love letter to the self-pronounced undeserving, to those who are always waiting for the other shoe to drop."
- From A High Horse
"...a fine example of classic English songwriting..."
- Music Like Dirt
"David’s ear for a good tune means these songs are full of musical hooks..."
"...lush, charming and lovely..."
"Bloody lovely. If you like your indie-but-not-a-racket, one man band, sensitive-man-with-a-sense-of-humour music, you’ll love it. And so you should." - Project 76 blog
"'Our Lovely Afternoon' is the new single from London band The Melting Ice Caps. Full of gorgeous piano and sweeping strings in front of a sophisticated beat, it boasts a beautiful vocal and a stirring lyric. Soaked through with melodrama, the track has a classic air to it, whilst somehow pulling off the trick of sounding modern and ancient at the same time. It's one of those that gets better with repeated listening. Ambitious and charming, it's well worth your attention.
On the flip is 'Ohio', a much more upbeat, softer song. It's a breezy little number that recalls 80s pop such as ABC, particularly in its brilliantly executed chorus. It's full of imagination and clever little twists." - Brill Dream blog
"...gorgeous pop..." - Unpeeled.net
"...a rather lovely new single... a degage attitude mingled with a pleasant warmth." - beerandbands blog
“…the deceptively catchy mechanics of such esteemed souls as Bacharach, Divine Comedy and Brigadier. Between Eros and Agape [is] a beautifully bitter-sweet slice of baroque pop… A perfect consolatory arm around the shoulder for all those of you who’ve been heartbroken and forgotten…
As is the case with us, and just to be awkward, we are much smitten by the flip cut Nobody’s Leaving - again more tear-stained torn and tormented pop prettiness softly bathed amid a twinkling procession of harpsichords and swooning string arrangements, and revealing the delicately mellowed sugar rush as were of a crushed Walker Brothers… Did we forget to mention the loosely traced MacArthur Park accents? Indeed that good.” - LosingToday.com
"David Shah (aka The Melting Ice Caps) is on superb solo single number five now and much to my disbelief he still hasn’t been crowned King of the universe. ‘Being No One’ like a classic Pet Shop Boys song from back in the day, complete with high-energy strings and angelic choirs." - Musiclikedirt.com
"‘Being No One’ is possessed of that knowing love lush pop rush of an ‘Actually’-era Pet Shop Boys, dimpled as it is with a sleight of hand arrangement that sees it gathering pace, dimension and depth with stealth-like precision, the sugar-spun caressing halos of stratospheric whirring shimmers thawing to unfurl from their ice-tipped spectral opening into something of heart yearning splendour, the orchestral cascades lushly assuming centre stage momentarily pierced by brief interludes of starry-eyed lilt-like mirages - the end result a quite fetchingly demurring lunar waltz. Not to be outdone the breezily sunburnt ‘Through a Prism’ is a dinky love-noted nocturnal bossa nova shoe shuffle of sorts, a bit of a Bacharach if you ask me. You can imagine this re-aligned with the lush sweep of swooning strings. We especially love the faux Mercury-esque operatic vocal phrasing of the word ‘Barcelona’ - blissful. A bit of a gem all in all." - Losing Today
"David [is] still disturbingly blessed with an unnerving knack for cobbling together a nifty slice of attractively drilled candy pop... ‘Mise En Scene’ is draped and decorated with a sweetly sunburnt wind chill that’s tempered with a tingling carefree radiance of a country tweaked mellowness and mounted upon a tumbling and jauntily wide eyed cascade that in truth had us here recalling elements of a youthful Micro Disney and Go Betweens as though found coaxed and moulded by an early 80’s Kitchenware Records vibe. Proving to be our favoured cut, ‘Night School’ sways and swoons with the kind of softly succulent sucker punch pop that these days keeps turning up on releases put out by Matinee Recordings, more expansive sound-wise than its lead-out sibling and ribbon-wrapped with elements of a ‘Liberation’-era Divine Comedy styled glow, freewheeled upon a gorgeously looping St Etienne / Dubstar like melody carousel." - Losing Today magazine
"...more erudite brilliance... Like a Souvenir...is a bittersweet ballad, which carefully treads the wire between the cynicism and sincerity mentioned in the lyrics; it is both wryly self-deprecating and painfully earnest, and features the genius lyric, "I was a card-carrying socialite/Till they made me carry a card." It ends in a spoken recitation that...Morrissey would be proud [of]. - Artrocker.com
"...grab the wonderful Like a Souvenir. It shows...such a talented, criminally overlooked lyricist/vocalist." - God Is In The TV zine
"Another release from the God Is In The TV Singles Club, and the quality shows no sign of abating as former Luxembourg frontman David Shah puts forward a warming combination of personable vocals and softly rising guitars that are steadily pushed and prodded forward by a scattering of electronic beeps and squiggles. Much like GIITTV’s earlier releases from My First Radio and Time.Space.Repeat, The Melting Ice Caps deal in opening up a vast atmospheric expanse; where David Shah differs however is in placing something comfortable and almost homely within the resulting space, never throwing caution to the wind and getting lost in the drifting current of the synths and beeps. The result is an intimate work of guile and poise that even throws in a touch of humour as Shah muses that he 'puts jokes in the chorus to make it less serious'." - audioscribbler.co.uk
"I was a big fan of electronic-pop maestros Luxembourg, so I took the news that they’d broken up like a bereavement. Luckily in the music world there are rebirths, so the angelic voice of singer David rings out again on his new project The Melting Ice Caps. ‘Selfish Bachelor’ is just one beautiful track and the outro may reduce some to tears (or maybe that’s just me)."
"The solo guise of ex-Luxembourg singer David Shah, his love of filthy pop and throbbing synths are back, now with operatic vocals. Delicious. 8/10"
- John Earls, Planet Sound on Teletext
"Aside from having a really nice voice, Shah has presented two really promising songs that combine electronica, folk and acoustica with great soundscapes and instrumentation. ‘Selfish Bachelor’ is a nicely progressing track, which showcases Shah’s lyrical talents and considering it’s self produced, it’s been put together really well. ‘How To Appear Well Adjusted’ contains some nice violin work and similar production qualities. This is a promising volume of work from this upcoming indie folk talent. 8/10"
- Die Shellsuit Die webzine
"Selfish Bachelor begins with listing all the things the narrator doesn't have, a list which seems to imprison him more than all the freedom he purportedly has. Its music is melancholy but passionately romantic, fitting seamlessly with the brilliant line "I do know love like I know being alone." How to Appear Well-Adjusted is a plonking, knocking vaudeville track that recalls the wry humour found in several Luxembourg tracks, including advice like "Gentlemen should keep their stubble short/And so should ladies." Shah muses over how one can show oneself as "normal" and uses a list of what at first seems like an archaic etiquette manual; then he mentions the 21st century faux-pas of posting an angry blog or sending an email without thinking, which feels both delightfully familiar and anachronistic."
- Condemned to Rock 'N Roll blog
"Hard to Get is a wonderful bitter ballad that bears throat-catching similarities to Soft Cell's Say Hello, Wave Goodbye. Don't Say a Word is a beautifully verbose plea for a lover's reciprocation, utilizing some of the most evocative words in the English language in the process."
- Condemned to Rock 'N Roll blog
"[The Melting Ice Caps is an] offbeat, but achingly genuine affair with an operatic, literate flair akin to The Divine Comedy. There's something theatrical and gentlemanly about these songs - despite their electropop flourishes, it's as though they would sound perfect from a phonograph that sits on a table by an art deco wrought iron balcony that overlooks a verdant park full of people on pennyfarthings. These songs are quietly stylish. These songs are politely ornate."
- Condemned to Rock 'N Roll blog
"The vocals here are strong, emotive and sometimes dramatic whilst the electro pop beats fits them like a glove. Songs like I Wanted to Be Your Boyfriend ooze quality and if Dave Gedge [from the Wedding Present] produced synth based pop it may well have sounded like this. Add this band to the likes of The Social Services for producing original and imaginative pop music."
"...a melodramatic electro folk that is equal parts Soft Cell, Divine Comedy and Babybird. The Melting Ice Caps' tales of love, loss and betrayal burn with a rare imagination, panache and dry wit that makes melancholy desirable. If you spent 2008 bemoaning that lack of intelligent pop that's as literate as a shelf in the British library and as sharp as an Italian Suit on a Saturday night, then your ship just came in." - The Devil Has The Best Tuna blog
"The brain of Neil Tennant in the body of a young Leonard Cohen, and maybe a future Meltdown headlining act. What’s not to like? Come on folks, let’s make David Shah [aka The Melting Ice Caps] more famous than Alexandra Burke. It’s the least he deserves." - The Roomyverse blog
"...it’s from the heart, the songs are lovely [with] eloquent, poignant, poetic lyrics. This is a vision of the future I can happily buy into - personal projects, made with no particular audience in mind, but which find kindred spirits across the world, simply by sending quiet little signals out into hyperspace. Signals which, in this case, I am very happy to bounce forward a little, in the hope that people who like our music might seek out David’s. Which you should." - Andrew Eaton, Swimmer One
"I wasn't quite prepared for the brilliance of the Melting Ice Caps. The name had fleetingly caught my attention not so long ago, but I'd not given much attention to the actual music. My loss, for the gig we witnessed tonight was full of utterly brilliant songs. David commanded the stage like a cross between a young Marc Almond and Jarvis Cocker and was utterly compelling to watch.
The music flitted between early Soft Cell-esque electropop and more orchestral bits recalling early Divine Comedy and fitted the witty and touching lyrics like a glove. "Hard To Get" with its lovelorn overtones (about seeing the one you used to love and have broken up with in other people's faces and in unexpected places) was an early highlight, but really each and every song was a winner. Set closer "Selfish Bachelor" could have been written especially for and about me (I wish!)."
- Pop 'N Cherries webzine
"…anyone who’s listened to The Melting Ice Caps, or [David Shah’s] previous band Luxembourg, would expect nothing less of Shah than to translate the melodrama of his recorded output to his live performance. The five singles released by The Melting Ice Caps over the last year or so continue a fine English tradition of lyrical intelligence…and songcraft.
Shah is alone on the stage, accompanied only by a DVD backing track with a video for each song projected onto a screen behind him. He emotes every lyric with drama, as if the tiny stage were the Palladium, his voice soft at times, soaring at others…akin to Marc Almond at his best. It sometimes feels as if David would be a star of Morrissey-esque proportions in an era that treasured intelligence more. On the other hand Jarvis Cocker, the most recent erudite and witty lyricist/performer to be taken to the nation’s hearts, toiled for 15 years in obscurity before being declared a national treasure!
The Melting Ice Caps end the set with “Selfish Bachelor”, the diamond in a jewel-encrusted crown of bittersweet pop songs. Pointing to the projector screen, David explains “I used to be in a band called Luxembourg, and these are my scrapbook cuttings from then…” Delivered with Shah balancing atop a small bar stool, “Selfish Bachelor” is as magnificent as it is tragic, albeit with a knowing wink. “I don’t have a life and I don’t have a band anymore,” he declares beautifully, while behind him images of his former group flick across a stage that’s set-up for a full band, including a drum kit sat silently. The upside arrives with the thing most acts lack, the killer end line: “but I’ve got all these songs"." - Musiclikedirt.com