Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Album Review: iceage-New Brigade

The sudden blog heavy love for iceage will probably go down as one of the most surprising pushes for a band this year. Not that it is unwarranted; far from it. As anyone who has managed to a copy of New Brigade in the US (not an easy feat, by the way) can attest to how good the album/band are (more on that in a second). But the fact is this is a band has been around for almost two years, and released a seven inch that served as a precursor to most of what's on New Brigade to not so much as a squeak from the blogosphere (though it did do great in the punk circle that iceage original come from). The sudden yelp of blogs, who rarely care for punk bands unless they are covered in lo-fi (not that there is anything wrong with that genre either), seems to have come out of nowhere, along with the equal strange desire to lump iceage with with the emerging "darkwave" scene.

So the best to approach New Brigade is to strip all that precedent that presides it and simply view it as an album that serves as the first impression for a band truly not known in the US. That means New Brigade is possibly one the best first impressions to ever be made. In a sense, its the same feeling I got when I listened to Cloud Nothings the first time, even if it triggered completely different emotions. The same immediate, yet strange catchy-ness that is attached to it that caught me off guard because it was their first release. "How is it possible for a band that just started to be this good already?"

Iceage are cynical, nihilistic kids from Denmark, making equally dark, nihilistic punk as an out growth of their life and surroundings. There is a clear cut hardcore back bone to it, but stops itself from being that. Nor is it post-hardcore; lacking any of the guitar work or direct sounds that make up the genre. Instead it's as if Pink Flag era Wire had decided to try to make a hardcore album, and succeeded. Much like Pink Flag, New Brigade jumps from one style to another with grace, from direct catchy punk tunes ("Broken Bones, Remember", "You're Blessed"), more experimental numbers ("White Rune", "Collapse"), to the most frenzied of songs ("Total Drench", "Count Me In"). All the while, the same trebled-to-the-max guitar lines, near blurred drum beats, and apathetic vocals make up the core of every song, yet always come out new or different on each song as well. It's potent without being overwhelming. Loud and cathartic, but excellent melodies buried within as well. New Brigade is as excellent a punk record as any blog piece has said it is. When both Altered Zones and Maximum Rocknroll are agreeing on the merits of an album, it is for good reason.

(mp3) iceage-White Rune
(mp3) iceage-Broken Bone
(mp3) iceage-Collapse


iceage on myspace
Pre-order New Brigade here, from What's Your Rupture? out June 21

1 comment:

  1. Right on. The dark wave connection is so bizarre. Iceage are a punk band.