Iceage - You're Nothing
Record Label: Matador Records
Release Date: February 18, 2013
Two years ago, the world was introduced to four teenagers from Denmark. They were angry and nihilistic. They had no desire to charm their new audience and they certainly didn’t give a damn. The only photos we saw of them depicted moody teens in skinny jeans and ripped up clothes and images of their concert-goers, covered in blood and whatnot from their wild live shows. We were introduced to Iceage, a band who, described with only one word, were rebellious. Whilst the show and pastiche that Iceage surrounded themselves with was wonderful for the media and the internet to pick up on and play on, it couldn’t stand up alone. So many bands deliver in terms of image, but fall flat when it comes to getting it down on record. Iceage, though, had no problems of that sort. Their debut album, New Brigade, was a wonderful melding together of old school punk and post-punk, Joy Division-esque touches. It was a record that made everyone want a little bit of them. Whether it was the punx or the P4k hipster kids, everyone claimed Iceage and titled them with yet another sub genre. What was Iceage’s opinion on the all of the hullabaloo? Who knows? They’re too busy not caring.
However they did respond to it in one way, the only way they know how to. They released “You’re Nothing”, a twelve track, blistering punk album that draws a little less from the post-punk influences that made the band so accepted by the indie gang, and focuses more on proving just how heavy and nihilistic the band can possibly be. First and foremost, You’re Nothing is a hardcore punk album; let no one say otherwise. From the opening dirty riff of “Ecstasy”, the listener is transported back to the years when Black Flag and D.R.I were at their very best. Above everything, You’re Nothing is music to thrash out to because you’ve had a rubbish day; or even, music to skateboard to. Whilst at a more in depth level, Iceage are more musically talented than many of their peers; over-complicating them makes the music lose some of its primitive, nihilistic charm. In the same way that Japandroids are a band to sing along to, Iceage are a band to get angry to.
The individual tracks themselves mark a huge jump from the band’s debut. A highly noticeable change is the actual coherence of the vocals on the lyrics. For the most part of New Brigade, the listener could pretty much sing along with their own lyrics as the vocals were so indistinguishable. This time around, the vocals have drastically improved and on tracks such as “In Haze” and “Ecstasy”, there’s actually the odd opportunity to sing along. Of course, it’s not a jolly, upbeat sing along, but the opportunity is still there. The band is as anxious and as on edge as ever before. “Coalition” sounds like a bomb waiting to explode and “You’re Nothing” is faster than the human mind can really comprehend and it’s hard to listen to the album without getting caught up in the band’s crazy world. Whether you’re listening to the album on the way to work, or whilst lying in bed, by the closing chord of the record, you’re left exhausted and worn out and that’s the way it’s meant to be. The album isn’t just background music, it’s an experience.
In terms of instrumentation, Iceage are incredibly talented. Although the band is obviously working hard to give off a casual, “we just threw this together” vibe, the musical ability of these guys has to be lauded. Every instrument is strained within an inch of its life; the drumming is not simply quickfire, it’s almost constant and the guitarwork is unbelievable at times. In spaces amongst the songs where there’s so much happening that it’s hard to look past the song being a wall of sound, if you listen close enough, you’ll hear dozens of solos and riffs, all layered over one another and overall somewhat indistinguishable, but individually beautiful. Whilst one may compare Iceage’s overall image as being reminiscent of the kids of ‘77, it certainly cannot be said that those rebels possessed the musical talent and ability that Iceage so easily utilise.
Iceage are not a fad or an average band that have been picked up by the media because of their image. Sure, the media is having fun talking about these wild kids with their punk rock; but for once this is a band that successfully transcends the hype and makes proper, heartfelt, exciting punk music. Whatever genre you’re into, whatever your favourite publication has said about these guys; Iceage are here to stay and You’re Nothing is one of the best albums of its time. What’s more, you can head straight over to main page now, where we’re streaming it in full, and hear it for yourself here.
"In spaces amongst the songs where there’s so much happening that it’s hard to look past the song being a wall of sound, if you listen close enough, you’ll hear dozens of solos and riffs, all layered over one another and overall somewhat indistinguishable, but individually beautiful. "
Great review Kelly, this element in particular is really what makes this band so special.