Iceage tour the UK in the autumn
Iceage tour the UK in the autumn

Iceage – New Brigade from iceage on Vimeo.

We are all in a rush. These are fast times. Iceage know this and their debut album clocking in at under thirty minutes is a helper skleter rush of ideas that sound all the better for this.

The four piece Danish band piece together the trilling rush of punk rock with the high velocity of hardcore and, here comes the really interesting bit, the melancholia of neo Goth and the ideas of post punk. Somewhere in the clattering rush you can hear bits of Jesus And The Mary Chain in the not shouted vocals and even the angular guitar clank of the Fire Engines before the band take off again on another burn of metric punk rock noise.

The four angular teenagers have obviously not waged any listening time in their lives and their music. Is crammed with ideas. They have a semi focussed energy and mystique that seems them shroud their English lyrics in a slurred intonation and lower I’d that is really effective but their overall sound is big and bold. There is enough energy and ideas on this impressive debut to captivate and the band who have been called the saviours of punk by some commentators who seem to be beyond the idea that punk doesn’t need saving have the energy and great songwriting to make their own mark.

This is a great debut album full of the thrill of youth and the visceral love of the shrapnel guitar, their videos give little away, just fuzz and distortion, matching the band’s own songs.

Impressive.

Abeano Records are currently streaming the entire album.

Iceage website

‘New Brigade’ (Abeano Records) – Available now

21 COMMENTS

  1. Rather splendid! I can hear bits of The Fall and The Membranes there as well as the Swell Maps. Wonderfully, I suspect that they haven’t heard of these bands and this music has just erupted, pus-like, from the swirling, churning subconscious of their diseased teen-aged minds: where most of the best stuff comes from!

  2. I really enjoyed them when I saw them at Islington Mill a few weeks ago.

    They played for 19 minutes and they didn’t waste a note. Speed punk, especially the hardcore-influenced variety they play, is not a genre I spend a great deal of time with I’ll be the first to admit, but I can spot a bloody good band when I see one. It was like watching Fucked Up (whom they’ve supported) before they got too big to be completely in-your-face.

    Really powerful, really energetic – you can read the whole review here http://www.music-dash.co.uk/live/live.asp?item=2280 along with a little after-comment… the subject of which I’m still not too sure about.

    While doing a little post-gig research (checking spellings of names, that kind of thing) Google’s third result from the top of the page threw me a link to a punk/ DIY culture blog article (a blog that’s respected in its field, not just some idiot with a computer) which raised some very interesting questions which have not, as far as I am aware, been satisfactorily answered – at least for some.

    Videos and (in particular) a zine produced by one members of the band contain disturbing fascist imagery, presented in a manner that does little to address whether they represent his hope, fear or a neutral commentary. As the blog describes (with scans), “The Klan imagery in singer Elias\’ zine 23.15.12.6 goes a bit further, depicting a Klansman with an Iron Cross logo on one page, and several Klansman restraining and presumably murdering an unknown individual on the next….. Another page depicts impending race war, with a mob of skinheads, armed with knives and crucifixes on the march on one end, and shrouded Islamist figures on the other. One of Iceage\’s favorite symbols, a switchblade, points business-end towards the Islamists. Notice that masked skinhead in the foreground wears the geometric logo that appears on Elias\’ blog, as is the Klansmen on the above page.”

    You can read the full blog article, and the interesting discussion underneath it, here:
    http://magicmuscle.wordpress.com/2011/06/25/chic-racism-elevates-hardcore-band-iceage-to-hipster-fame/

    Subsequent searches have failed to throw up any certainties; no comment from the young band about where they stand. Various secondary sources pitch them as left-wing, in which case, what exactly is Elias trying to say with these images? Is it just a teenager lashing out and being as offensive as possible? Does it actually matter what the thinking behind these drawings was? It probably says more about me than it does him, that I’m really hoping there’s some explanation for it that doesn’t involve him supporting or idealising the far right…

    I recall a massive discussion last year (I think it was actually on John Robb’s Facebook page, before this site was launched, but I’m guessing a few other LTW readers were involved) about some of the white-supremacist and neo-Nazi politics displayed by Varg Vikernes and others in the black metal scene, with some people saying it didn’t bother them as they could dissociate the music from the imagery / underlying themes, whilst others said they just couldn’t bring themselves to listen to it even if they enjoyed the music.

    Opinions, anyone?

  3. I presume we talk about the Iron Cross as in the standard soldier WW1-2 decoration? Klaus Dinger wore one on Neu! 75 & Amon Duul 2 wore pickelhaubers on Made in Germany tho’ you can be SURE both were having a pop at their countriy’s recent past. Lou Reed shaved it into his barnet at one point (if you believe Nick Kent)…
    Also throws up the old Laibach / Joy Division-Warsaw debate tho’ I really wonder whether playing with these images is useful anyway cos you will always attract the nutters: even if you take the piss. Pop/rock history is littered with misconceptions.
    Sounds like some teen lashing out to me. And they will lose their marvellous music in a welter of accusations and counter accusations if they do.

    And what a horrible phrase chic racism is

  4. 1/ Their drummer is Jewish 2/ They cover a Sexdrome song on the LP – Sexdrome’s own blog defines them as: “Left wing, anti nazi, pro-immigrant punk music from Copenhagen, Denmark” 3/ I understand that Louder Than War recently ran a feature on Boyd Rice 4/ Mojo & Ucunt have both reviewed post-prison Burzum LPs, and Mojo even interviewed Varg Vikernes 5/ What nazi imagery? (when compared to, let’s say, the original cover to Joy Division’s ‘Ideal For Living’ 6/ Old school punk flirted with real nazi iconography – or calling your band Joy Division – or New Order! 7/ Euronymous (Mayhem) was an old school communist 8/ Do I really need to go on? I saw Iceage in Manchester the other week . . . the NME were there, but there was no nazi saluting!!!!

  5. Hey slow down a bit Jean… as I said, I was at the Manchester gig too, and as I said I enjoyed it. It was only afterwards that I came upon the blog article.

    The blog does NOT accuse the band of being Nazis. “Far right” and “Nazi” are not synonyms, and Nazism doesn’t even come into this (I deliberately avoided the word in my summary, apart from the reference to Vikernes). It doesn’t even accuse them of having far right sympathies, and nor do I by drawing attention to it.

    The blog merely questions the possible motivation behind a young band aligning themselves with imagery traditionally associated with the Far Right. If you read it you would see it focuses on the ambiguity – and it does mention that one of the band is Jewish and the citation that they are actually left-wing. In which case I’m sure I am not the only person who would be interested in the background to the zine artwork, and I do NOT mean this in any accusatory way. As Richard above says, it’s pretty shaky ground to even flirt with this kind of thing.

    And yeah, I’m quite sure people asked the same of Joy Division back in the day…. I hope they did.

  6. I love the Iceage album and I’m fully aware of the games bands play. Early punk used the swastika from Skrewdriver to Siouxsie there was varying degrees of Nazi stuff going on.

    1/ Their drummer is Jewish … not always a get out clause…ask the Palestinians

    2/ They cover a Sexdrome song on the LP – Sexdrome\’s own blog defines them as: “Left wing, anti nazi, pro-immigrant punk music from Copenhagen, Denmark”…Skrewdriver started as a Rn B band covering black music

    3/ I understand that Louder Than War recently ran a feature on Boyd Rice…they said in the blog something about his right wing imagery

    4/ Mojo & Ucunt have both reviewed post-prison Burzum LPs, and Mojo even interviewed Varg Vikernes … and your point is?

    5/ What nazi imagery? (when compared to, let\’s say, the original cover to Joy Division\’s \’Ideal For Living\’… it’s smoke and mirrors imagery, reflecting the bad stuff back, art as a mirror, that’s my take on it. They are blurring the borders making us think and argue and it’s working.

    6/ Old school punk flirted with real nazi iconography – or calling your band Joy Division – or New Order! … agreed

    7/ Euronymous (Mayhem) was an old school communist … we all know that. not sure why this is mentioned (and he was swerving away from communism towards the end)

    8/ Do I really need to go on? I saw Iceage in Manchester the other week . . . the NME were there, but there was no nazi saluting!!!! … I don’t think anyone is calling them nazis here, I think the person called Cath is concerned about the imagery but not making accusations.

  7. At last, a band that makes people think! (Take note, self-indulgent, whiny British ‘indie’ muppets.) Then again, this time next year they’ll be doing support slots for the Arctic Monkeys, followed by the festival money-go-round and then a ‘career defining’ collaboration with U2. Or maybe they’ll all go to Copenhagen university and become quantity surveyors.

  8. Was initially wary of the hype, but the album is utterly brilliant -raw, propulsive, thrilling – can’t wait to see them play live!

  9. Quran (4:104) – “And be not weak hearted in pursuit of the enemy; if you suffer pain, then surely they (too) suffer pain as you suffer pain…”

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