By Jason Herring, October 30 2014 —
During their first two records, Danish punk rockers Iceage constructed a distinct sound characterized by fast, chaotic songs that owe a great deal to seminal punk bands like Hüsker Dü. On their new album, Plowing Into the Field of Love, they take control of the disorder that characterizes their music and transforms their sound to create their best work yet.
The album’s opener, “On My Fingers,” creates a chilling atmosphere with repetitive and unyielding instrumentation, building to a climax that never comes. The drive of the song is reminiscent of Joy Division’s disturbed album Closer.
Iceage explores complex arrangements most notably on “Against the Moon,” which skillfully fuses the band’s usual rock instrumentation with trumpets and piano. These elements make the song one of the best on the album.
One of the most impressive parts of Plowing Into the Field of Love is vocalist Elias Bender Rønnenfelt’s powerful voice. The singer’s commanding and uneasy tone contribute to the tense atmosphere that defines the album.
Even though most songs are much more calculated than the band’s previous works, their old sound hasn’t been abandoned completely. For instance, the album’s final track, “Simony,” is a welcome return to the blistering punk their fans are accustomed to. It demonstrates just how versatile Iceage is, moving easily between different musical styles.
With its powerful songwriting and crushing atmosphere, Plowing Into the Field of Love stands out as one of the best albums of the year, and is certainly worth picking up if you are a fan of punk music.