Copenhagen punk outfit Iceage's third studio album. Relying less than previously on straight-up guitars and classic punk abrasiveness, 'Plowing into the Fields of Love' sounds more well-rounded and introduces a fiddle / horn player, who apparently looks strange and has a beard. Which is important to know. This double vinyl LP (or shiny round CD) is home to lots of songs.
CD £7.18 OLE10682
CD on Matador.
Vinyl Double LP £19.69 OLE10681
2LP on Matador.
Copenhagen's Iceage are back already with a third album that expands upon the more melodic direction they were headed on last year's 'You're Nothing'. These lads were barely out of nappies when their debut 'New Brigade' came out, and the back cover of this LP shows four handsome young men who still don't look old enough to shave. Don't let this fool you though, because on 'Plowing into the Field of Love' Iceage are already showing ambition way beyond their clanging indie-tinged post-punk roots - they're heading deep into epic territory here, reminiscent of Nick Cave's early post-Birthday Party work (and indeed Rowland S Howard's), the recent and somewhat overlooked Icarus Line material, with a grandiosely unpredictable and still slightly wild and hoarse feel that makes me think of 'David Comes To Life'-era Fucked Up.
The most unusual parts are concentrated on side A so that's where I'll focus here. Opening we've got 'On My Fingers' which is a big folk-punky sounding number with stridently plonked piano, tremolo-strummed guitars and a drunkenly lurching vocal line. Then 'The Lord's Favourite' throws the first real curveball, a louche and loose folk-punk number with a heavy bluegrass influence, even throwing in some banjo plucking and fiddle sawing towards the end. Things get seriously anthemic on 'How Many' with impassioned vocals and huge post-rocky build-ups and dynamic shifts, lots of piano here too, and an enthusiastically whacked bit of metal joins the fray towards the end in a cheeky little nod to E Neubauten or P Galore, this is the sweaty fists in the air sweat-and-hormones teenage anthem of the collection.
Closing side A, 'Glassy Eyed, Dormant and Veiled' gives us the first glimpse of the brass which will appear a few times before the album is out, in a mariachi dirge-rock whirlwind that repeatedly swells and recedes with a mounting tension and intensity. Those who were into the stripped back grit of the band's early work might be a bit disappointed by the ever-increasing shift towards large-scale indie rock on 'Plowing into the Field of Love', but fans of ambitious and accessible modern punk like the aforementioned Icarus Line and Fucked Up will probably look back at this as the album where Iceage really came into their own.
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