Release Date: Jun 21, 2011
Record label: What's Your Rupture?
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, New Wave/Post-Punk Revival, Experimental Rock, Hardcore Punk
Young bands enlist in the punk military just like those who want serve for their patriotic convictions. Their passion for raucous rebellion is blood deep but premature, ready to subscribe to their ideals like eager apprentices. There’s no time for questioning the consequences when breaking through the red zone. The mission is simple: blaze through livid bouts of aggression in an amorphous structure without any excuses.
Here's what we know about Iceage: They are four friends, ages 18 and 19, from Denmark. Their debut LP, New Brigade, has actually been out in their home country since January, with a much smaller, limited run coming to the United States earlier this year. These are the essentials. Over the past few months, as New Brigade has been passed back and forth online with increasing enthusiasm, there has been a remarkable amount of chatter, some of it focused on their age, some of it on their music, some of it on faraway mystique.
Iceage are something of a ‘big deal’ - if you happen to live in Denmark or follow the blogosphere’s never-ending search for the NEXT BIG THING that is. In their native land, they’ve been branded '"teenage punks full of anger and anxiety' by a rabid national press. According to the internet, Iceage have revitalised punk rock in a way not seen since Odd Future revitalised hip-hop a couple of months ago.
If projecting an aura of mystery is some of the stuff that legends are made of, then precocious neo-punks Iceage might be on to the start of something big. At least part of what has made these Danish teens the toast of the blogosphere recently is the element of the unknown, as they’ve come out of nowhere—or, more precisely, Copenhagen—to deliver a visceral, attention-grabbing first effort with New Brigade. But a bigger reason why they’ve made such an impact in a rather brief period of time is that their throwback post-punk aesthetic belies their age and inexperience—they’re being touted as the subgenre’s latest saviors for channeling the sound and spirit of the likes of Wire and Joy Division.
Who would guess that it would take a group of Danish teenagers to reinvigorate punk? For their debut, New Brigade, Iceage come furiously out of the gate, combining the bare-bones art punk popularized by Wire and Warsaw in the '70s with an ‘80s hardcore punk spirit. The songs on New Brigade are excellent -- quick and succinct blasts that never last longer than three minutes -- as the jagged guitar parts of Johan and Elias tear along in front of the ragged rhythm section attack of Dan and Jakob. “Total Drench,” “Collapse,” and “Count Me In” practically fall apart in reckless abandon, slow down for a short breather, and then, with a four-count drumstick click, whip back into a wild fit.
ICEAGE play Parts & Labour August 17. See listing. Rating: NNNN Music critics have bandied about the term "post-punk" since Joy Division, but little of the associated music sounds very punk. The whirlwind debut LP from Denmark's Iceage melds a number of early-80s influences - everything from Mission of Burma to Big Black to Sonic Youth - and reintegrates them with the snotty, shout-along urgency of punk.
Even with my previous musings on the Misfits, the seminal punk outfit continues to teach me greater musical truths. Anyone who truly loves punk music, even if you prefer The Clash, The Ramones, or some other collective to Danzig and company, can attest to the perpetual disappointment that every great punk act has either a.) long since had their time in the sun or b.) are just trying to reignite the fires of punk yore. For Danish teen punks Iceage, their time is now thanks to a dedication to the past and unwavering curiosity.
Easily as good as any punk release you’ll hear in 2011. Louis Pattison 2011 Expecting the genre of punk rock to do something wholly original in this, its fourth decade, would seem to be asking a lot. But if there’s a lesson we learn from Iceage’s New Brigade, it is that by doggedly ignoring trends and following one’s own path, it is still possible to happen on something that gleams like new.
So maybe Garry Mulholland got it on the nose when he once said of the underground vanguard that “whatever their protestations... the gang everyone wants to be in will always be the pop gang”. Integrity is an illusion, rebellion is self-delusion and every punk just wants to be loved. Or is it always so? In 2011 the D.Boon award for This-band-could-be-your-life new act and team mascot for the 'punk will never die' contingent goes to the Copenhagen teens known collectively as Iceage.