iceage – New Brigade

written by: July 18, 2011
Release Date: June 21, 2011


The Denmark post-punk act that doesn’t capitalize its name, iceage, made waves with its debut 7-inch of noisy post-punk. The group’s songwriting was a call back to the late ’70s British scene, something the EP’s production drove home. Now, the Danes return with its debut full-length, New Brigade, which sees the quartet prove its initial offering was no fluke.

New Brigade has gained a great deal of hype from tastemakers like Pitchfork, and even The New Yorker ran a small blurb. With claims that the band is rejuvenating punk rock, iceage has some gigantic expectations resting on its shoulders. While the album is solid, the hype machine that surrounds it has proven to be more of a disservice.

From start to finish, New Brigade blends into a reverb drenched slab of post-punk that blends the loose and neurotic style of ’70s punk with a slight noise feel of early Sonic Youth. It successfully melds several punk subgenres, but it never seems as if the band is saving the genre. Given that iceage is still has members in their teen years, it is hard to see this as anything other than an uplifting and energetic offering.

As the album progresses the group’s subtleties begin to make themselves known. “Count Me In” is a hardcore blast that recalls Southern California in the early ’80s. It is more closely related to Circle Jerks than Gang of Four, but vocalist Elias Ronnenfelt finds a way to keep his vocals from falling in line with the atypical style that hardcore has been synonymous. With guitars that cut through the noise and a rhythm section that is able to groove without subsidizing its intensity, “Count Me In” is perhaps the most refreshing track on New Brigade.

While the album is certainly an enjoyable listen, there is little that distinguishes iceage from other post-punk bands that embrace indie rock production.

At the end of the day, iceage seems to be much akin to Nathan Williams’ Wavves. If Wavves was channeling garage and mixing it with pop-punk, then iceage is hardcore’s answer to that tactic. The group is one that could potentially take its abrasive style to a mainstream audience, much in the way that Off! and Fucked Up have been able to avoid compromising their riotous hearts.

Overall, New Brigade shows that iceage has a lot to offer the punk scene. They are in no way saviors, as there is a list of bands nearly a mile long that have kept the genre alive and interesting even in the face of waning interest. If iceage finds a way to make its next release more dynamic, it could prove to be the new face of indie-punk. Until then, they’ll be an enjoyable throwback to the genre’s early days.

iceage  – New Brigade Tracklist:

  1. “Intro”
  2. “White Rune”
  3. “New Brigade”
  4. “Remember”
  5. “Teeth Crush”
  6. “Total Drench”
  7. “Broken Bone”
  8. “Collapse”
  9. “Eyes”
  10. “Count Me In”
  11. “Never Return”
  12. “You’re Blessed”