Iceage – Plowing Into The Field of Love

Formed in 2008, Danish four piece Iceage started life as a punk band in the purest sense.  Their first two albums New Brigade (2011) and You’re Nothing (2013) were snarling, charmingly retro punk artefacts. What they lacked in maturity and originality was more than made up for by the sheer energy and commitment on show.

They had that little something extra, an intensity and self-belief that made them stand out from the crowd of garage band hopefuls. Plowing Into The Field of Love marks a surprising shift in direction – the intensity remains but the endearingly juvenile punk wannabe leanings have been discarded. In its place we get a band that have reinvented themselves.

It takes a few listens to de-scramble and figure out what’s going on here; the twists and turns, the tempo changes, the new sounds  but once these songs take root, it makes for their most rewarding album to date. Think early Nick Cave fronting a less competent, more ramshackle Bad Seeds and you get the idea.

‘The Lord’s Favourite’ is rough and ready alt-country while early highlight ‘Glassy Eyed, Dormant and Veiled’ is a sparky combination of rolling drums and Post Punk guitars, singer Elias Bender Rønnenfelt making every word sound like a direct threat.

The growling bass on ‘Let it Vanish’ ushers in one of a number of songs that change tempo at unexpected points – this is definitely not an album recorded to a click track. ‘Abundant Living’ is a surprisingly brief but memorably effective tune that has a certain Pogues-like quality.

Plowing Into the Field marks the end of the bands ‘awkward adolescent’ stage and displays signs of a rapidly developing maturity. It still retains the energy, charm and intensity of their earlier records while striving for a sound that is less derivative, more uniquely their own.

Moments of brilliance – welcome to the new Iceage.

 

(3.5 / 5)