Iceage have come a long way from their vicious post-punk beginnings. New Brigade was dark, angry and monstrous. It was the sound of torn fingers and bloody guitar necks. You’re Nothing seemed to be a continuation of that sound, albeit with more experience under these young, Icelandic lads belts. On Iceage’s new album, Plowing Into the Fields of Love, these guys have opened the flood gates and have released a record so varied and expansive that if it weren’t for Elias Bender Rønnenfelt’s unique vocals you wouldn’t know it was the same band. It’s a huge step forward and a hell of an album.
“On My Fingers” starts the album out like a funeral dirge written by The Fall and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. A doomed romantic vibe permeates and pulsates in the piano and Rønnenfelt’s vocal delivery. “The Lord’s Favorite” has a cow punk shuffle and chiming guitars that gives this great track a Smiths vibe. There’s a lightness to this song that hasn’t been heard previously and it’s a welcome surprise. I think even Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros might have had some fun with this one. “Glass Eyed, Dormant, and Veiled” has a punk rock jangle mixed with an almost doomed, goth sound. “Let It Vanish” sounds like Joy Division fronted by Sid Vicious. It has that Manchester darkness, but with youthful energy those post-punks could never quite muster. “Abundant Living” could be the love child of The Smiths, Love and Rockets, and Drivin N Cryin. “Cimmerian Shade” has all that nasty vitriol that got Iceage their reputation for intense and bloody live shows. It’s tension-filled and waiting to explode at any moment. “Plowing Into the Field of Love” is a ramshackle track that ends the album on a drunken Pogues stumble that nearly falls out of the speakers.
It’s one thing for a band to get ambitious and attempt some sort of grand gesture on a record. Usually they just end up reverting back to the same old thing next time around. But Iceage aren’t being ambitious here. They’ve just grown up, and their music has grown right along with them.
8.2 out of 10