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If you’re reading this, you’re probably part of whatever is left of the music press in 2011. There is no reason to explain the state of modern, relevant punk rock to you; you’re paid (in one way or another) to know it all. Fittingly, there is no reason to outline any scene reports or regional histories that brought about the formation of Copenhagen’s Iceage. Its members are teenagers, presently 18 or 19 years of age, and as with most people that age, it doesn’t do any good to cite influences. Rather, Iceage mixes punk, post-punk, Goth and hardcore as if they invented it, and does such an excellent job of blending these tropes with the pent-up energy and frustration of the just-post-pubescent years of young mens’ lives, that they might as well have.
New Brigade is Iceage’s debut album (licensed from Escho Records of Denmark); 26 minutes of anthemic stress, of tension undiluted by worldly wisdom or amassed experience. Following a seven-inch single (recorded by Peter Peter, of the Sods and Sort Sol) and compilation track, New Brigade displays a confidence that substitutes worldly experience for the thrills of discovery, of knowing that it is possible to forge your own path in light of adults, the establishment, and prevailing wisdom telling you to do otherwise. In this tradition, New Brigade’s twelve songs rush past, long enough to hit you in the chest and short enough to make you wonder what happened. YouTube shows Iceage’s live shows to be frenetic, sometimes violent affairs with very little compromise in the way of sound or concept. You may get pushed around. Deal with it. This is a punk record from a punk band that plays punk shows. American audiences will get their first chance to see them play this summer, once they finish their current year of high school.
There likely will not be a record of this type so singular and stunning until Iceage makes another one.