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I really enjoyed Copenhagen youngsters Iceage’s debut ‘New Brigade’, a great midpoint between the clanking paranoia of Joy Division and the unhinged noise rock of latter-era Black Flag. Someone in the office who will remain nameless says they’re “too slow for punk” and “just noisy indie rock”, and that’s an increasingly valid point on this sophomore offering, where the melodies are really pushed to the fore much more than last time, but the gritty, determined delivery, sometimes threatening to fall apart entirely, and the hoarse, emotive vocals still say otherwise to me. Still, it’s fair to say they tread a line somewhere between the two.
It’s certainly a much more musically mature record than the debut, with confident, more restrained arrangements and in particular some tastefully anthemic lead guitar. It’s got a nice mixture of sloppiness and deceptively clever songwriting but, kind of like The Men’s second album, I find myself missing the raw, nihilistic bite which its noisier predecessor had. It’s good stuff, though, raucous and anthemic but still with a gloomy post-punk grit. Fans of The Men, Fucked Up, Shitty Limits and even early Idlewild will probably lap this up, while the “tru-punx” will doubtless whine that it’s not as fast as xLimpxWristx or Terveet Kadet or Rudimentary Peni or whatever. I think it’s pretty decent myself.
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