Iceage’s Likeable, Noisy Punk

Photo by Pooneh Ghana

Photo by Pooneh Ghana

There are few things that bring back such a powerfully nostalgic feeling than young, angry punk bands. Roaming house basements, drinking Mad Dog 20/20 while young bands play some of their first sets ever and pushing everyone around to try and get a good view of whatever’s going on in front of the crowd–there is really nothing like it. Full of anger and pain, young punk bands have a way of bringing the worst (or best) out of everyone listening.

Something about punk music is always refreshing to hear, perhaps because of the timeless nature of the genre’s sound. The Danish band Iceage brings back a feeling that many of us have lost with age. It’s hard to believe the band members of Iceage just reached the legal age of drinking in the United States. With the recent release of their second album, You’re Nothing (Matador), Iceage is already well on their way to proving they are worth a listen.

Lead singer Ellas Bender Ronnenfelt most certainly took a cue from Robert Pollard with his raspy, old-style punk voice. You wouldn’t think the band’s powerful drum, guitar and bass would complement such a low-key voice as Ellas’s, and yet it all fits together perfectly. This band does not sound like it’s from 2013. Their raw, hardcore lyrics sound aged beyond their time.

Photo by Lasse Dearman

Photo by Lasse Dearman

Sometimes bands attempt to combine goth, hardcore, and punk, resulting in some form of a hot mess that is too disarrayed to pin down. However, Iceage found a way to bring these fantastic genres into one big, heavy combination of awesome. With each additional listen of You’re Nothing, the more the pain of the lyrics shine through like a gigantic tsunami about to hit the coast; it’s all horrifying and powerful, yet somehow beautiful in all the right places. The track “Coalition” showcases this well, as it features scribbled noise upon noise with messy vocals and a fast pace until it meets its demise around the two-minute mark where it dulls into an electric buzz.

Although the band’s video for their main song “Ecstasy” reminds the viewer of nothing more than a bad ecstasy trip, it adequately sums up the band’s music. If this video were to have its own identifiable scent, it would be spilled PBR, stale cigarettes, sweat, and the foul stench of an old, overused basement. In other words, the world of most of our late teens. Catherine Coleman, the director of the video, perfectly exemplifies the song’s messy character. The video aesthetically stands on its own, capturing the emotions and static noise of the music.


Considering the band members are all in their early 20s, the group will hopefully have a long future ahead. It is easy to assume their sound will change, their lyrics with grow, and their videos will be more mature. But, returning back to the timeless nature of punk music, let’s hope these young Danish musicians don’t stray too far from their norm.

Iceage will start a U.S. tour March 24 in Seattle and will continue touring around the U.S. until the middle of June, rounding things off with a gig at Brooklyn’s Northside Music Festival.


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