Scandinavia has showed us how to live our lives over the last few years with their sparse furniture and gritty crime novels, but do we really want their punk rock? The answer is yes and in Iceage we have it all. Last years debut ‘New Brigade’ was arguably the most refreshing, and possibly best, punk album of the last decade. It picked the best bits of hardcore, new wave and goth, gave it a hint of Nordic minimalism, plenty of space, some gusto and packed it into a solid 25 minutes. It was a bit like Minor Threat being produced by Martin Hannett.
Their live show is a similarly tense affair with frontman Elias Bender Rønnenfelt calmly but vacantly staring into the crowd for the first few songs, before gradually losing it and falling apart as the set progresses. The material is faster live, but still maintains that spooky hint of delay that makes their studio work stand out so much. Highlights include the desperation of ‘Eyes’ and a new song, ‘You’re Nothing’, which results in Rønnenfelt on his knees repeating the word ‘pressure’ until he’s gone very red in the face. The fledging group’s most well-known track ‘White Ruin’ is curiously omitted from the setlist, perhaps showing the confidence they have in their new material and an unwillingness to conform to crowd pleasing. Iceage are certainly unstable but look like they will be here for a good while yet.
*Images courtesy of the Iceage blog