Icehouse: “Can’t Help Myself” (1981)

Iva Davies tries to suppress his romantic urges. A parable for New Wave’s audible battle between guitars (the heart) and synthesizers (the mind).

Kronomyth 1.6: SUGAR PI. In the beginning, new wave groups tended to fall into the guitar (The Cars) or synthesizer (Depeche Mode) camps, with few striking an effective balance between the two. Icehouse was a notable exception. “Can’t Help Myself” first introduces the guitar, then adds synthesizers (with Ultravoxian undertones) to give the song both dark and light features. It’s one of the bounciest bits on their self-titled debut, yet executed with a mathematical precision. The song was also re-mixed (in two nearly identical versions) for clubs, and at six minutes manages not to overstay its welcome. The flip side, “Fatman,” is one of the less interesting songs from their debut. Nothing else to write, he wrote, as he spackled another crack in his monument to futility…

Original 7-inch single version
A1. Can’t Help Myself (Special Club Re Mix) (Iva Davies) (3:27)
B1. Fatman (Iva Davies) (3:50)

Original 12-inch single version
A1. Can’t Help Myself (Club Mix 1) (Iva Davies)
B1. Can’t Help Myself (Club Mix 2) (Iva Davies)
B2. Fatman (Iva Davies)

Promotional 12-inch single version (US)
A1. Can’t Help Myself (Version 1) (Iva Davies) (5:56)
B1. Can’t Help Myself (Version 2) (Iva Davies) (5:56)

The Plastic
Released on 7-inch single and three-track 12-inch single in October 1981 in the UK, Canada and Spain (Chrysalis, CHS/CHS 12 2550) and the Netherlands (Chrysalis, CHS 104033). Also released as promotional 7-inch single in 1981 in the US (Chrysalis, CHS 2568) feat. A only. Also released as promotional two-track 12-inch single in 1981 in the US and Canada (Chrysalis, CHS 37-PDJ).

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