Iceage are in and out. They don’t mess around. If a song goes over the two minute mark it’s almost too long for these guys. The thing is, they make their point within the first 30 seconds of a song. There it is, stabbing you in the eye, punching you in the gut, karate-chopping you in the throat. Verse/chorus/verse/chorus? Hell no. Iceage’s music is to the point. Militaristic. It’s jagged and bloody, like a mouthful of broken teeth. ‘Burning Hand’ is like the Clash on amyl nitrates. It’s like the undead trying to make melody from the depths of despair. You’re Nothing continues the post punk marauding Iceage began on their first album New Brigade and improves on their utilitarian approach to brutal songwriting.
No one is going to accuse these Danish punks of selling out on their Matador debut. If anything, this album is leaner and more direct. Yes, that’s a piano you hear on the song ‘Morals’. It’s not used in the schmaltzy, balladry sense, but as a means to add drama and urgency. Elias Bender Ronnenfelt still sounds like Sid Vicious singing on fire, and that only adds to the immediate gut punch blow you feel listening to every song on this album. ‘Everything Drifts’ comes in with a hearty chunk of bass before the band kicks in and tears your face off with a jagged guitar shredding through your speakers as Ronnenfelt’s vocals seem to push their way through the chaos. When Ronnenfelt isn’t causing his vocal chords to bleed, his voice is reminiscent of Joe Strummer. The Clash and Give ‘Em Enough Rope-era Strummer. You know, when Strummer was still pissed about just being a punk, before the world-at-large was taking up his head space. ‘Rodfaestet’ is in and out in less than two minutes. You hardly know it was there until you look down and see you’re bleeding. ‘You’re Nothing’ tips its hat to Black Flag and kicks your teeth in before heading out the door.
You’re Nothing isn’t a huge departure from Iceage’s debut. What it is, though, is a refinement. It’s a tweaking, if you will, of the brutal force they created on that What’s Your Rupture debut. The members of Iceage were barely 18 when they started blowing minds just a couple years ago. Still barely old enough to buy a pint, they’ve honed their sound to a brutal weapon. Conjuring the spirit of Wire, Stiff Little Fingers, Bauhaus, and Joy Division -while creating their own brand of aural artistic violence- Iceage continue to march on to total world domination.
Welcome to the new Iceage.
8 out of 10