Born from the underground Danish music scene and a mix of claustrophobic punk and sensitive tales of love, Iceage now grip the world with gritty tales stretching from murder ballads to reimagined German philosophy. Frontman Elias Bender Rønnenfelt found his way to chat to Jake Wilton about their detachment from previous records and their new turn of passive punk ramblings.
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With three albums now under their belt, they’ve clearly expanded their sound from clattering noise punk to an incoherent pallet of country-tinged dramatic punk.
This new offering Plowing Into the Field of Love, references Pogues and Nick Cave and showcases incredibly organic growth. The first two albums are so entirely different to the new one, but the way Elias speaks about it, the influences to the new album have always been there.
In Plowing we see introductions of string arrangements and intrusive pianos which keep Iceage fragrant in their musical scope
Iceage’s second album You’re Nothing, didn’t leave much room for interpretation. The music was not spacious. While not overstaying its welcome it was intensively purposeful in terms of how the quartet developed their sound.
“The first records were an induction, at the time, of what we wanted to do. We always had an interest in messing with our own formula,” said Elias.
In fact Elias wants the band to move on from what we know of them in the past and to not be portrayed as a nostalgic epiphany. At the group’s recent Brisbane show, a punter yelled out for them to play White Rune, a repulsively heated punk track from their debut. Elias instantly dismissed his request and went on to play another cut from their new release.
“We’ve completely stopped playing anything from the previous records. We feel a bit detached from it now,” says Elias. “If I went to see a concert, I would want to see the band in the midst of their new artistic progress. I would to catch the band how they are at the time instead of some nostalgic medley of their discography.”
Organic is a word that found its way into the conversation on more than a few occasions. As a songwriter, Elias believes he’s grown due to his exposure in the music market and that he’s better at the English language. “You could discuss that the reason these songs are so open is how compressed they’ve been in past. It’s pretty much been where the song writing went,” relayed Elias. “With the songs being so compressed and frenetic in the past, there wasn’t that room in the songs to create tension and drama.”
Album highlight How Many dictates an opening for the band to breathe heavier and stylises a gloriously ominous approach to rock music. Elias’ vocals are weighted and catastrophic in delivery. The moments where he’s found silence on this track ensure open connection to his fears of disappointment and acceptance of lack of passion in his life. Plowing Into the Field of Love manages to relay the brutality found on Iceage’s first two records into moments of distorted beauty and piercing turns of phrase.
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Plowing Into the Field of Love is out now via Matador / Remote Control records.