Tag: Iceage

Iceage – Plowing Into The Field Of Love Review

Iceage – Plowing Into The Field Of Love Album Review

Iceage album coverThis new third album from Iceage sees a change of style for the band – the scuzzy punk seems to have taken a back seat to more indie experimentalism, with a darker, inward looking mood taking over.  While it feels like a band throwing open the doors musically to new avenues and stepping outside their comfort zone to bend those ideas into something different, there has been a backlash of bile from existing fans, accusing the new album of being being a Nick Cave clone.  I’m not in agreement with this pointless name calling and would recommend the record.  It is a change of direction, yes, but the melodies are very much Iceage, the vocal delivery and lyrics are not much altered and above all this is a collection of great tunes that deserve to be heard.

To my mind this is the sound of a band still experimenting, here they have reigned in their reckless side and used that exhuberant experimentalism to create something chaotically ordered, teetering on the edge but firmly rooted enough to never fall over. Complex structures and discordant riffs sit comfortably alongside perfect country slide guitar and gently sexy brass or keys.

Each track is different – they haven’t done away with the punk completely but it is now just a layer in the sound on this record, in fact at times this album reminds me very much of their Escho label mates Lower and their recently released record Seek Warmer Climes.  Iceage have a greater aptitude for melody and hooks however; instillng each track with a vibrant glow – thrilling the listener with a range of feelings – the instant nature of the melodies roots them in your musical memory but the fleeting, dreamlike quality is nicely at odds with the catchy tunes, like smoke, transient yet leaving its mark.

Lower – Seek Warmer Climes Album Review

Lower – Seek Warmer Climes Album Review

Lower albumDanish four piece Lower released their debut full length record on 16th June.  In Denmark they are label mates with Iceage (Escho) and like that band they have also been picked up by Matador for this release.

Lower have more of a moody post-punk sound than their label mates, marked with looping downbeat riffs, occasional moments of dischord and dreamily melancholic vocal lines, however what they do share is a knack for melody, and many of the tracks on this debut will have you echoing the music with languid head bobbing.

My familiarity with Lower only extends as far as owning the Someone’s Got It In For Me / But There Has To Be More and Walk on Heads EPs (both from 2012), and this LP has a somewhat softer edge –  smoother lines with a less raw and squally sound, especially when compared to Walk on Heads’ more urgent scuzzy guitars. This softened sound doesn’t actually take anything away from their tunes however, in fact it refines the tracks and makes for a more mature package – the melodies come to the fore, pushed by the excellent vocals. Lost Weight, Perfect Skin is a briliantly constructed post-punk pop song; from the repetitive central guitar riff to the laid back but catchy vocal lines, it sticks in your head and is one of the tracks that will have you coming back to the record.

Much of the rest of the album is more subtle – dark bass lines and dreamy vocals  creating a swirling, moody atmosphere (Expanding Horizons) or quietly dischordant and rising to a more intense climax (Tradition). This is one of those records that will catch listeners by surprise – the curious may find themselves becoming entranced with its subtle charms and have it grow into one of their hits of the year. Well worth checking out.