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Iceage ‎– New Brigade LP

Iceage ‎– New Brigade LP

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So maybe Garry Mulholland got it on the nose when he once said of the underground vanguard that “whatever their protestations... the gang everyone wants to be in will always be the pop gang”. Integrity is an illusion, rebellion is self-delusion and every punk just wants to be loved. Or is it always so? In 2011 the D.Boon award for This-band-could-be-your-life new act and team mascot for the 'punk will never die' contingent goes to the Copenhagen teens known collectively as Iceage. Not only by virtue of the fact that their music is so damn vital and fresh and penetrating, but proof once more that in order for that to really matter, the statement is most effective if hatched squarely on the shitty limits. Because what else does this shit modern life necessitate by way of the truth? Not more pop music, that's for sure. Not this time, Gaz.

Not that they have contrived to be heroes. Iceage are frigid and spooked and removed, not sermonising. They most patently aren't the Clash. Neither do they harbour hopes of 'importance' and widescreen reach for their music, unlike alleged punk saviours Fucked Up or indeed fellow Scandinavians Refused. By way of 'a message', lyrically it is difficult to glean much from this debut. The music, however, tells you all you need to know.

For example, we know that they feel dehumanised by their surroundings, and by the pain of routine, which they express in the form of repetitiousness throughout songs which sound somehow industrially reconstituted, rendering the music at once elemental and unnatural. We know that for teenage boys they are all wired up with a very adult and very numbing ennui, but too far gone to do anything but close their eyes and swing their fists, like the Germs damned for all eternity to Fugazi's 'Waiting Room'.

We know that although they affect a lobotomised schtick, there's a good chance they're fiercely intellectual young men. We know that for all their cold modernity, every bit of Bill Haley's red-hot coming-of-age thrust and desperate desire for something or anything to happen clangs rawly at the heart of New Brigade. We know that with all the piercing might they can muster with their brittle frames their songs tumble and stumble and accelerate and swagger, because not even Iceage can disguise their residual childhood energy.