Release Date: Oct 7, 2014
Record label: Matador
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Album number three is typically the point where bands try something different. You’ve gained some stability, you’ve at least some evidence that you aren’t a one shot kind of act, but you’ve also got to deal with the fact that people, generally, have pretty short attention spans. Better, therefore, learn some new tricks. Then you show the people the new tricks.
"All those brash young studs/ They have no idea what it’s like up here," Danish punk Elias Bender Rønnenfelt moans over a rolling midtempo drag on the title track to Iceage’s brilliant third album, Plowing Into the Field of Love. The line first scans as a refined upgrade of the band’s usual alienation—a dark basement swapped for an ivory tower. But it also has the same sardonic self-awareness that coats the instantly iconic video for Plowing’s first single, "The Lord’s Favorite", which featured the really, really, really ridiculously good-looking Rønnenfelt and his youthful comrades smearing lipstick on themselves, taking champagne baths, and enjoying cocktails with (d)ice in their glasses.
“Morals” on second record You’re Nothing marks an important moment in the history of Iceage. Inspired by Mina Mazzini’s “L’Ultima Occasione” and the 1960s Italian pop music lead singer Elias Bender Rønnenfelt was listening to, “Morals” saw Iceage delve into a form of songwriting that was alien to the rest of their previous output. The track, with its stop-start drums, would come alive at will rather than bludgeoning us from the start.
According to Iceage frontman Elias Bender Rønnenfelt, his vocals are higher in the mix on Plowing Into the Field of Love because, among other things, he’s “just better at English now.” Immediately, it makes sense that Iceage sound how they do. Creating poetic art in one’s second language can be an act of further self-displacement, as one reaches out blindly toward the periphery of symbolism, searching for the excess of meaning in an already unfamiliar field of knowledge. Punk lends itself well to that expressive gap, because no one cares about what your words mean when you scream them into the void.
There’s no sin in rock’n’roll as crushingly dull as conformity. Be thankful, then, for the iconoclasts. Be thankful for Iceage. Their 2011 debut ‘New Brigade’ and 2013 successor ‘You’re Nothing’ made the Copenhagen quartet poster boys for bloody nihilism: a bunch of young, wild punks so hellbent on making anthems for a doomed youth it seemed they need never bother growing up.But in July of this year, they unveiled new track ‘The Lord’s Favourite’.
If there was any question about Iceage's longevity, their third album, Plowing Into the Field of Love, will answer it loud and clear. After releasing their debut album, New Brigade, when they were teens, the Copenhagen post-punks made an impressive, reinforcing statement with last year's You're Nothing. But it's album number three that demonstrates their intensity as a band determined to prosper.Upon its release, first single "The Lord's Favorite" really set a precedent that we shouldn't be assuming anything about Iceage.
Iceage, a Danish four-piece known mostly for their brooding punk rock and stirring up trouble, are having a change of pace. ‘Plowing into the Field of Love’, their third full-length for Matador, turns everything they’ve already established upside-down, on its head, and pulls it inside-out for good measure. No longer concerned with the shock factor or their teenage misdemeanours, Iceage have torn up the rule book and started again, producing a country and western album that Nick Cave would cook up if he were possessed by Ian Curtis’ ghost.
My first introduction to Iceage came at a sweaty Chicago house show in August 2011. I remember leaning precariously out of a second-story window, my back to the breeze as I watched four solemn, conspicuously Scandinavian teenagers set up their equipment. They seemed unaffected by the room’s tropical atmosphere, shrugging off the drops of condensation that fell sporadically from the ceiling.
In some ways, Iceage's Plowing into the Field of Love is a kinder, gentler beast than its predecessor, 2013's You're Nothing. It finds the group hopping from genre to genre exploring instrumentation far outside the scope of what they have previously utilized. However, with Elias Ronnenfelt's vocals no longer obscured under layers of feedback, his pitch black lyrics can now be (relatively) clearly deciphered, and it makes the proceedings even more devastating."On My Fingers" makes apparent right off the bat that this is not the Iceage of old.
There’s a vast ocean between Wire’s Pink Flag and its follow-up Chairs Missing. The first was punctuated by really short punk songs, while the latter was like the difference between night and day, becoming arguably artier. And the songs were generally longer. That difference is apt in comparing the gulf between Iceage’s last album, You’re Nothing, and the new one, Plowing Into the Field of Love.
The Danish hardcore boys in Iceage spent their teen years as punk purists – the kind who think it's cool to sell knives at the merch table. So it's a jolt to hear them open up on their superb third album: a classic case of punk wolfboys who discover girls and lose their religion. Elias Bender Rønnenfelt moans about temptations of the flesh, as the band goes for grand goth balladry in the Bunnymen mode.
Iceage frontman Elias Bender Rønnenfelt isn’t the type of chap you’d invite round to meet your mum. The 21-year-old slurs like Mark E Smith and spews out such misanthropic lyrics as “I don’t care whose house is on fire as long as I can warm my hands against the blaze.” Still, it’s quite an inferno, as the Copenhagen band leap from the punky roar of their first two albums into music that teeters thrillingly on the edge of chaos. There are gigantic rolling rhythms, marauding riffs, trumpets, violas, guitars and drums.
opinion byGENEVIEVE OLIVER When Iceage put out their Gun Club-esque, country-punk Plowing Into the Field of Love single “The Lord’s Favorite” earlier this summer, reactions ranged from extremely psyched (ie. us) to deeply perplexed. I think most people who were deeply perplexed have probably not really listened to Iceage very closely. In maybe the best interview I’ve read in the past several months, J.
Copenhagen's Iceage gained a certain reputation and divided reaction with the reckless, snotty abandon they approached their first two albums with, 2011's New Brigade and last year's You're Nothing. In truth, though, it sounded like they were merely slurring their way through abstract, noisy compositions that skirted newly discovered intersections between the U.K. post-punk and American hardcore scenes of the 1980s—promising, to be sure, and at times enjoyable, but also somewhat directionless and unfocused.
Iceage — Plowing Into the Field of Love (Matador)Iceage cleans up its sound, slows down the tempos and adds instruments like strings and piano on this third full length, but none of this takes the rawness out. Plowing Into the Field of Love uses clearer production to showcase emotional ravagement. It doesn’t sound like a punk album, not the way that New Brigade did, but rather more like an unhinged and wounded cabaret.That’s mostly down to singer Elias Bender Rønnenfelt, who can be found, track to track, tearing his voice to shreds with a lacerating torch-song-at-the- end-of-the-world kind of glamour.
On their first two albums, Iceage sounded like they were young, smart, and very angry, which was fitting enough since the Danish quartet were still in their teens when they cut their first record. But on their third album, 2014's Plowing into the Field of Love, the group has clearly been going through some changes. The intense, hardcore-influenced attack of New Brigade and You're Nothing has given way to a different but similarly passionate sound, with acoustic guitars, piano, and trumpets working their way into the mix, while arrangements leave room for a bit more open space.
Iceage Plowing Into The Field Of Love (Matador) The third album from this youthful Danish quartet trades in the skeletal post-punk of 2011's celebrated New Brigade for scorched-earth spaghetti gothic. Allusions to the Birthday Party abound as Iceage thunders across the high desert of the soul, and you can almost smell the toxic fragrance of cheap liquor and stale cigarettes on Elias Bender Rønnenfelt's tortured, breathy vocal as he slurs his way through half-cocked entreaties that would make Stanley Kowalski take pause. Iceage flirts with pitched perfection on "The Lord's Favorite," a raucous cowpoke ramble that feigns gospel fealty against a backdrop of sun-cracked debauchery.