Review Summary: Brief glimpses of brilliance are overshadowed by largely dull music
When it comes to music, subtlety is an art, especially when you play a feral brand of post-punk which often seems to act in the same vein as hardcore. Among the flurries of guitar distortion which provide the core of the music it’s the small fractures of melody in the screamed vocals, the drum trills and the guitar licks which should make it interesting. Beneath the dense, sweaty energy of the music, it’s these ideas which provide the final bite to the whole substance and vibe of the song. Getting the balance is difficult. At one end you risk making the music sound homogeneous, but at the other the music loses its depth. It certainly works on “Ecstasy”, where the vocals tumble forward in frenzy whilst a bass thunders underneath; then there's the pulsating chorus of ”Pressure, pressure, oh god no”
above a gripping bass riff which brings the music to a tense, momentary standstill.
But then things turn sour. On subsequent songs the vocals become clumsy and the melodies within them become erratic and senseless. The instrumentals are mostly dull and lose the perfect equilibrium briefly teased before. Even with the occasional interesting ideas, the parts as wholes don’t come together to form anything atmospheric, absorbing or truly energetic. The guitar leads provide the most interesting aspects but rarely do anything which harmonises with the rest of the music or adds to its grit. Meanwhile, the vocals flutter about in a directionless daze (such as on “Morals”) and the guitar chords paddle along in the foreground as Iceage seem content to tread water and quickly dispose of the remainder of the album, which ends up sounding increasingly, and disappointingly, boring.