This summer my girlfriend and I… Sorry ladies, I’m taken. That’s one less music nerd on the market. Bummer, I know, right? Ah, where was I? Oh yeah… So, this summer my girlfriend and I have a little Saturday morning tradition, so to speak. We get up early, pack a bag with towels and magazines we won’t read, and head to beach for a couple of hours. We spend some time people watching and bitching about all the kids chasing ducks and screaming at the top of their lungs, and even more so about all the parents that let their kids get away with chasing ducks and screaming at the top of their lungs at the beach. Then, instead of reading the magazines that we never really intended to but brought anyway, we put in our respective earbuds and pass out for awhile, basking in the morning sun. The last month or so I’ve added a step to this tradition: I sit up, slap my girlfriend on the leg—waking her from her sleep, pull out my earbuds, and excitedly proclaim, “Damn, that Iceage album is like, really freaking good!”
Roughly a bazillion bands have been dubbed the proverbial “next big thing”; and more often than not, those bands have not lived up to the prophecies loft upon them by eager rock journalists. That being said, New Brigade, the debut album by Copenhagen, Denmark’s Iceage—a quartet of teenagers everyone from Maximum Rock-n-Roll to Vice to that one website that starts with a “P” and ends with an “ork” are singing the praises of—leaves me fearing they might have it right this time. Like any self-respecting, ego-inflated music snob, I hate it when a good band gets huge. And these guys are totally capable blowing the F up.
Iceage pits gothic-tinged post-punk against discordant no-wave with angular hardcore attributes tossed in for good measure. (If you didn’t hate me by now, that sentence should do it for ya.) On the first song on New Brigade, “White Ruin” the vocals—that somehow manage to be both muted and energetic at the same time—and clangy guitar ala Arto Lindsay, impatiently lead way into a mosh-like breakdown near the end of the track. “Total Drench” immediately recalls Joy Division before quickly erupting into a Mission Of Burma-like clamor. Whereas “Broken Bone” starts off spiking the eardrum with rigid guitar, before transgressing into power-pop territory, and eventually ‘90s-like dance-punk. And “Count Me In”; well, it’s just punk rock for punk rock’s sake. “You’re Blessed”—their most palatable outing—is on one hand, depressing; because it’s the end of the record, but on the other hand, perfect; because it leaves you wanting more.
Clocking in at about twenty-five minutes, this record feels both classic and fresh. I’ve mixed it in a playlist that included the Decedents’ Milo Goes To College and T.S.O.L.’s Dance With Me, and another that had No Age, Crocodiles, and Japandroids—a perfect fit in both cases. If you’re a fan of saying things like, “Yeah, I liked their first record better”; then you’ll want to pick this one up ASAP. Love them now; because there is a strong chance you’re going to hate them soon. All the things people are saying about this being a fantastic punk record are completely accurate. But I would also like to add that New Brigade is the perfect album for tanning on Saturday mornings at the beach.
8.9 / 10
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