Iceage Beyondless Matador Records
When Iceage blew up at the turn of the decade, no one predicted longevity from Copenhagen’s teenage punk sensation. Their debut LP New Brigade, released in 2011, was powered by intense adrenaline-levels that were surely impossible to sustain. All the while, the band’s hostile relationship with music writers stirred up a storm of sensationalist press – a double-edged sword for any new act.
Iceage’s ambitions to graduate from blood-spilling basement shows and to “not only cover the emotions that come with a clenched fist” transpired in 2013 with Morals – a piano ballad inspired by Italian singer Mina’s 1965 song L’Ultima Occasione. By third album Ploughing Into the Field of Love, singer Elias Bender Rønnenfelt’s lyricism had moved beyond nihilist posturing to barstool romanticism.
Beyondless, Iceage’s fourth album, delivers an anthemic 10 track collection. Brass sections boost single Pain Killer, which sees Rønnenfelt joined by Sky Ferreira for a lovestruck duet that leaves them short of breath, as well as the hook of the densely distorted stomper The Day the Music Dies. On the sluggishly-paced Catch It, Rønnenfelt slips towards a state of despair, threatening the only mid-album droop until the band accelerate to a faster gear with ease. Perhaps their finest moment is the closing title track – a euphoric blast during which Rønnenfelt envisions himself as a vagrant wandering the city, a ricocheting bullet and being lost at sea.
While Beyondless is a record that honours the lineage of the great musicians that came before Iceage, this music is too alive and too lustful to be sterilised by the praise of rockist bores. It’s the sound of a band who’ve been bound together by music since they were kids, and they’ve not lost an ounce of passion along the way.