Review: Iceage – ‘New Brigade’

Posted on 21/06/2011

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Danish foursome Iceage is the latest in a line of buzzworthy punk bands crossing over to the public eye, with What’s Your Rupture? re-releasing New Brigade, their debut album, in the US today. Reviews have popped up in the New York Times, the Washington Post and the New Yorker, so it’s safe to say they’ve built up a reasonable hype. The album’s been around for a while now, and after listening to it again, I’ve got to say I like it a lot more than I did initially.

This stuff isn’t nearly as exciting as it’s been made out to be for the past couple of months, but songs like ‘Broken Bone’ and the title track are undeniably enjoyable, showcasing thrashing, discordant melodies and a clear British post-punk influence. The refrain from ‘Rotting Heights’ has been stuck in my head for the better part of the day, so suggesting Iceage can’t write a tune would be ludicrous. This record is catchy, it’s fast, and it’s fun as hell at times, but that’s where it ends.

The way people have described this is hugely misleading; this album isn’t nearly as visceral and snarling as it’s made up to be. That’s not to say it isn’t raw, but it seems to me that, in places, Iceage lack convincing power to pull the album off convincingly. Songs like ‘White Rune’ sound listless and uninspired, despite critics’ insistence on how “fresh” and “exuberant” the band is.

Iceage is far from being the ‘next big thing’, as people seem to be saying, but don’t let that take away from the album. New Brigade is hardly groundbreaking, and it does not live up to the hype, but it’s certainly worth listening to.

Rating: 3/5

Download: Iceage – New Brigade

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