Review Summary: We don't need no revolution
Iceage’s debut album ‘New Brigade’ was a wonderful punk album that took the Denmark punk scene by storm. People are happy, they got their 3 euro beer and all is well in Danish town. Just as the happy folk grew tired of hearing about oppression and how corrupt the government is “man”, a new wave of punk bands have emerged in the Danish scene to save the day, proving that punk music is much more than about the angst brimmed message and has depth as a sonic approach. Utilizing the coiling bass lines of post-punk, the hammering of abrasive drumming and a half shouting, half singing vocalist the band has taken the beautiful aesthetics of noise and abrasiveness to paint the ‘*** you’ attitude in a whole new light.
While still wholesomely in your face, this album is much more subdued with scalding, gripped tight atmosphere that works at a much slower pace as a shock of poison rather than pummels to the head as per found on the debut. While the bass recoils the drums crash down, giving the album a motion of jittered pushes, of relief and destruction and while imperfect provide a strong sense of suffocation on the listener. ‘You’re Nothing’ is downright smothering with its complete lack thereof hooks, its dark undertones and quick shifts from scalding burns to icy baths. The production does a great job on this album providing a very heavy, texture rich atmosphere each instrument feels like it is a crucial piece to a bigger picture: the vocals howl and pierce out from the white heat of the intensity, without the slow burning of the bass the crashing of the drums wouldn’t hurt nearly as damn much.
Guitar leads on this album are a bit on the underwhelming side due to the lack thereof. The glossy, sleek sense of style associated with the leads jam out and laughs in the face of the sheer nightmare around it. Acting almost as a parody of the listener’s turmoil, when the guitar shines it greatly contrasts everything this album stands for. There is merit to this sort of approach but it can’t helped but be wondered what sort of opportunities were missed by scattering glossy leads so distantly rendering the guitarwork on here more of an afterthought than an essential component to the band. The bass and drum work alone provides a hefty atmosphere but throughout the short course of the context at hand the suffocating atmosphere can turn from glorious to sour exhaustion. The hard hitting soundscape is gratifying but not enough of an idea to justify the length at hand, and that is where ‘You’re Nothing’ really suffers from a lack of inherent substance. The approach itself is leftfield but the execution is all too safe, Iceage stay too close to the basis of what makes the release unique but also what makes it a boring release in a sense. Along the way there are some misadventures towards oddly bending the formula but they are short lived and at times awkward in context. Rocking out isn’t a viable approach to a texture rich, abrasive album and it comes off as just unsuitable and clumsy. Still for all its faults Iceage have managed to produce an album that artistically holds punk in a new light and that is all we have come to expect.