On album four, the Danes continue to turn angst into art
“I can’t stop killing, and we’ll never stop killing and we shouldn’t stop killing,” Iceage‘s Elias Bender Rønnenfelt snarls on the machine-gun opener to their fourth album. It’s a welcome battle-cry from a band who we’ve been without for too long.
The band formed of teenage angst in 2008, and the last ten years have seen the four Danes defy genre, delight critics, and rattle more than a few skeletons across three acclaimed albums. It’s been a long wait between 2014’s ‘Plowing Into The Field Of Love’ and album number four – especially for a band who once restlessly rattled out records at breakneck pace. But in their time away, Iceage have grown highly evolved – and a little more sensual.
While gothic gloom is ingrained in their DNA, ‘Beyondless’ boasts flourishes of colour and sex. “Praying at the altar of your legs and feet – your saliva is a drug so bittersweet,” Rønnenfel moans on the Sky Ferreira-assisted, Bad Seeds-meets-Primal Scream soul-punk of ‘Pain Killer’. Not only is it in the running for one of the best rock singles of the year so far, but there’s something in its dynamic charm that seems to sum up the spirit of ‘Beyondless’, too: it’s unhinged, but poetic, assured, direct and deviously loveable.
The dizzying, existentialist din of the opening and closing tracks fittingly showcase a band who continue to turn angst into an art, and horns only add to the menace of the scorched-brimstone blues of ‘The Day The Music Died’ and the hypnotic psych of ‘Catch It’. ‘Thieves Like Us’, meanwhile, howls and stomps like a hootenanny turned into a bar-room brawl. Rough-and-tumble aside, though, there’s glacial grace of the string-led ‘Take It All’ – the cigarette after the seduction.