Considering they once allegedly played a gig with a dead fox hanging from the microphone stand, Copenhagen punks Iceage are surprisingly meek in person. In fact, singer Elias Rønnenfelt reminds us of one of The Coral, circa 2002. And he’s got their persona too, softly declaring, in broken English, that he and his three bandmates couldn’t give a flying one about the hype that’s been afforded to them of late. “We try not to think about it, we don’t care about being true to it,” he says, nonplussed, when asked about a recent report in a Danish newspaper that ran with the deliciously nihilistic headline: ‘Teenage bullies full of anger and anxiety’.
Musically, that description is pretty spot on. Some will hear elements of Wire and Killing Joke in their rabble-rousing 23-minute debut ‘New Brigade’, with hints of shoegaze and New York No Wave thrown in too. Back home, they’re leaders of what’s become known as The New Way Of Danish Fuck You scene (they hate the term, naturally), and collectively theirs is a world comprised of brutally loud live shows, beat-up guitars, vintage Fred Perry shirts, DMs and – the staple of every decent brand of misfit punks – branded tattoos.
Several of these are already etched on the arms of those in the hooked audience of the sold-out New York show Radar catches them at. Their online presence is peppered with bloody polaroids of tour exploits (one sees Elias casually wrapping a python around his arm; others have the band engaging in bouts of mental-looking arm wrestling).
But what you might think of as dumb-fuck rawk shenanigans is belied by the maturity of Iceage’s music. Equal measures of nihilism and hope abound, and it’s refreshingly unselfconscious – a breakthrough for a band who come from a country where the punk scene has collapsed into lazy caricature. It’s catching too – the band triumphed at their debut London show, and they’re currently midway througha mammoth 12-week US tour, playing probably the scummiest venues known to man. Provided they survive that, they’ll return bigtime contenders.
Need To Know
For fans of: Wire, Joy Division
Next Gig: The band are away in the US for the next few months, but plan to return to the UK in September
Buy it: Debut album ‘New Brigade’ is out now
Believe it or not: Elias also makes and distributes his own fanzine. Called Dogmeat, it’s delectably weird