Check out this flawless review of the band from The Guardian:
The lineup: Elias Rønnenfelt, Jakob Tvilling Pless, Johan Surrballe Wieth and Dan Kjaer Nielsen.
The background: Iceage’s New Brigade album has been described as the “feelterrible” hit of the summer. That’s a good one. We didn’t hear it being played over the weekend in north London, but you can imagine this Danish quartet being thrilled at the prospect of their music being used to soundtrack a riot. New Brigade is, as one YouTube commenter put it, “music for watching buildings burn”, made by four teenage punks “full of anger and anxiety”.
Actually, some have called them “teenage punks”, while others have gone with “teenage bullies”. It’s an important distinction: punk, officially 35 years old next month, was fuelled by righteous anger, its aim to stand up for the downtrodden. There was nothing bullying about it: it picked on the powerful. If these Danish kids – who formed at school when they were about 10 – have their sights set on the weak and dispossessed, they’ve massively missed the point. Apparently, their live shows are carnage – not literally, no animals or humans are slain in the process – and their bloodied audience members are referred to as “victims”, some of whom wind up on their blog. But it remains to be seen what their politics are. It remains to be heard, too: Elias Rønnenfelt’s lyrics, sung in English rather than Danish, are largely unintelligible through the din.
Close your eyes and you could be listening to autumn-76 punk, with a little early-80s hardcore thrown into the melee. There is looped footage of a man French-kissing a sheep on their MySpace under the heading “Sounds Like”. They don’t sound much like ovine snogging, to be honest; more like punk also-rans Chelsea or the Cortinas. When they’re better, on a track such as Remember, they sound like a bad Warsaw. At their best – on, say, White Rune – they approach the taut sonics and sardonic minimalism of Wire.
Their album, recorded in four days, is, pointedly, 12 tracks long and comes in at an even more pertinent 25 minutes. The band clearly want it to be part of that classic short-sharp-shock lineage that includes those historic debuts by the Clash and Ramones. Even brainy organs such as the New York Times and the New Yorker have been asking whether they’re the saviours of punk, without acknowledging the oddness of that question, this late in the day. New Brigade is a restatement, not a revolution. Every track lasts two minutes or less, except for one, as though there were an excess of excess out there, and Iceage were taking a stand. We weren’t aware there was. Remember is totally Wire. Rotting Heights suggests the band are capable of more than crash-bang-wallop; on Eyes they even approximate the frenetic jazz-punk of Richard Hell and the Voidoids.
They’re certainly one of the better new rock bands that have been highly touted since we’ve been doing this column, but we’d be lying if we said they take the music anywhere new. Never Return, the “long” track at three minutes, does a lot of stopping and starting, but we can’t quite hear Iceage moving on from here to record their Chairs Missing or 154. After a while, the trebly, brittle sound really palls. One reviewerdescribed them as post-punk, but they’re not, they’re punk through and through: the excellent, angular Broken Bone aside, they’re not skillfully rhythmical, dub-conscious or funk-savvy. They do a bit of herking and jerking, but that’s about it. Still, if they can’t keep time, they’ve got good timing.
The buzz: “One of the best punk rock records released in years” –thequietus.com
The truth: Interesting that they should take their name and cue fromWarsaw. Now all they need is their Martin Hannett and a complete rethink before they make their next move.
Most likely to: Encourage sheep-like behaviour at gigs.
Least likely to: Snog a sheep.
What to buy: New Brigade is released by Abeano on 5 September.
File next to: Fucked Up, No Age, Wire, Chelsea.
Tuesday’s new band: Caged Animals.
(Link to article here)