Iceage - New Brigade (Abeano)

Post-punk, discordant, with the spirit of New Wave: A welcome release from Iceage.

Released Aug 29th, 2011 via Abeano / By Paul Robertson
Iceage - New Brigade (Abeano) Clamorous and clangorous, Danish quartet Iceage channel the icy spikiness of the first wave of post-punk and the discordant, unsettling spirit of No Wave with a conviction that skilfully avoids any sense of nostalgia or 'retro-fever'. Herky-jerky rhythms and awkward angularity coexist with a surging sense of rhythm like that of a teenage hardcore band within the sturm und drang of their sound, like alien beings on a sugar buzz.

'Alien' is a term that fits the awkwardness and coldness of Iceage's slashing kling-klang guitar skree like a glove, one part Helios Creed, one part Big Black one-two-fuck-you, and one part Liars audio-pixelated oddness, circa They Were Wrong, So We Drowned.

The treble-heavy clangour hits like needles in the ears atop the tumbling rolling drums and solid, grounded bass, often coming on like an idiot savant version of Killing Joke's spooked-out 'Revelations' period, or a less chaotic take on the fractured sound of San Diego's Antioch Arrow.

The ringing, needling upper-register guitar of 'Collapse' is particularly effective and wince-inducing, 'Broken Bone' has a riff that hits Voivod-ian heights of angular-yet-aggressive discord, and the intro to 'Never Return' is highly reminiscent of a hypercharged take on the minimalist dread of Liars' We Fenced Other Gardens With Bones Of Our Own.

Vocalist Elias Rønnenfelt has the voice of Robert Smith with all hysteria stripped away - most notably during 'Total Drench', which sounds for all the world like The Cure's 'Boys Don't Cry' colliding with an outtake from Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation – and artfully avoiding the fever-pitch screams of so many who move in similar areas.
Not for him the screeching angst of the nineties San Diego scene, with whom many musical cues are shared, or the Ian Curtis impersonation affected by others in thrall to Warsaw and early Joy Division.
That's not to say that Iceage don't tip their collective hat to Manchester's dourest sons – far from it – it's just that their take on it is so much more of a de/reconstructivist take rather than a straight-out-but-artful cop.

Current arty punk darlings of the hip media they may be, but with New Brigade, Iceage prove that they have nothing to prove. At the heart of their icy sound is a sense of individuality that cannot be denied, and what could be more punk rock than that?