Iceage - New Brigade

by Amy Putman Rating:8.5 Release Date:2011-10-10

Iceage is one of the sexiest bands I have heard in the past year. Maybe that's because, for me, sex is tall men with long dark hair gyrating in dim rooms to dark throbs. Maybe it's because I grew up in a household where Echo and the Bunnymen were a whispered of illicit substance. Maybe it's because I love bass sounds and music that makes my body coil like rising incense smoke. Maybe I am a repressed goth stuck in the body of a metalhead/punk. Maybe it's because all the cool kids where I grew up were smudged with kohl and wearing corsets, while I was all baggy jeans and DMs.

I'd prefer to believe, however, that my judgement is more objective than teenage regression fantasy. This album is well polished and musically interesting, striding between the goth electro of the 80s and contemporary experiments with noisecore and punk blends. It is at once a delicious nod to its velveteen roots and a combination that could only exist in this century. It is original and yet acknowledges its history and influences. In short, this is extremely smart music which is as Scandinavian (Iceage are a Danish band) as liberal politics and pickled fish; an intelligent and well-designed blend that clearly comes from a place of deep thought, practice and experimentation.

Cool, clever, emotional, sexual, provocative and charismatic. Iceage is a band not just to watch but to stalk - if there is any justice for talent in the current music world they will be global megastars in a few short amounts of time. This is their third album and they just keep getting better and better, honing their genre with maturity and creativity, like Ikea designers creating ergonomic lives. Originally more prog-rock than goth punk, but still with a dark 80's undertone, the addition of a faster beat and crazed lyrics have completed their style like the icing on a Chelsea bun. Where before they were a professional pastiche of cock rocking Scandinavians, earnest yet humorous and deeply epic, now they have exchanged their homage to the likes of Rush for something rougher and readier, they have gained a depth and distinction that separates them from the masses and makes them truly exciting.

If I were being picky I would say that they underplay the punk aspect somewhat and could add a dash more frenetic bounce, but I enjoyed the album so much that I offer a simple solution: if you are a massive punk fan who doesn't like goth or electro, don't bother with this album - your lack of enthusiasm will only disrespect their accomplishment. If, however, you are a General Alternative who has ever spent an enjoyable night in a cellar at the town's once monthly not-pop night, then you will love this with the ferocity and massive hard-on it deserves.

Iceage are like a cross between Sisters of Mercy, The Cro-Mags, and heaviest, punkiest Deathstars. They combine sultry silken night with angry moshpits full of frustrated horndogs and a hint of debauched forbidden pleasure. Their music conjures floorboards creaking dust with vampire copulation; lithe hedonists gazing snake-eyed into the abyss of lust; mob rule and blazing torches. It is chaos and refinement; punching fists in silk gloves; dribbled wax on hardened muscles; brutish brows with tender lips. It is bouncing herds and scheming leaders; the joy of unison and the solitude of difference. I want to join the sweaty beast and be its heart, bowing in delight before Iceage as our pied pipers; I want to stand in cool air demonstrating my hips while a fiend with glowing eyes and warm leatherette gazes at me from a shady corner.

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