Danish post-punkers Iceage have been spitting out ragged drawls since the late 00s and, up to now, they’ve stuck to pretty gnarly dark stuff. I found them a few years ago on a shoegaze playlist, one of the few benefits of being able to stream newly discovered music, for those of us too rural, old and inferior to hang around Camden Lock.
I was a bit excited to nab this review, especially after getting Manchester Orchestra and taking a Bastard Sabbatical, so you can only start to imagine just how pissed off I was when I hit play and what sounded like a ‘that Reading festival era’ Stone Roses hit my ears. What are they playing at and why the hell is he singing an actual melody and not shouting like all good post-punks do? Do I have to blame Brexit for this too?
Full disclosure, I listened to the album a few times and couldn’t find much good to say about it, but having gone into an actual place of work this week, I gave it another run through the headphones on the 8.28 to Cardiff. There must be some magic in that tiny semblance of normality because this might not be the complete tragedy I thought it was.
Openers ‘Shelter Song’ and ‘High and Hurt’ do little for me, but I can imagine they would be absolute hits with a group of indie kids with cans and a Bluetooth speaker in a field in the sun. They are definitely anthemic, but in a festival-for-people-way-younger-than-me way.
‘Love Kills Slowly’, whilst not even remotely post-punky, is decent-ish and less indie kid-dy. ‘Vendetta’ could easily slot into the B-side of any Madchester mix tape that no-one listens to the B-side of, the type that was free with a music rag and included Monaco and Flowered Up. You know the ones.
‘Drink Rain’ is one of the shittest things I’ve ever heard.
The album takes a massive, brilliant turn from ‘Gold City’, and despite ‘Dear Saint Cecilia’ being something Oasis fans who never grew up could stoat about to, it is alright. ‘The Wider Powder Blue’ is much closer to familiar Iceage territory, and closer ‘The Holding Hand’ is a slow burning, shoegazing beaut – if those kids are still in that field, they just ate the special mushrooms.
So, all in all I’m glad I gave this one a few runs before tapping out words, the latter half genuinely grew on me. I’d suggest, if not too late, they split this into two four-track EPs, the first four tracks going on something sold to six formers whose dads were at Knebworth ’96, and the last four being for the grown ups (‘Drink Rain’ just goes in the bin). That way, I can retain 100% of my wrath ahead of reviewing Paul Weller’s latest dross. Cheers lads.
Words by Lisa Whiteman.