It says a lot about the state of music today that an album of sub three minute punk songs, none of which add much to the genre or ask a lot of the listener, can sound so invigorating. Iceage have found themselves in the right place at the right time and their debut album New Brigade shows they not only have a keen sense of irony, but also a deft understanding of urgency.
Much like our very own Die!Die!Die!, Iceage pound out rhythms rather than strive for melody and aside from a brief but ominous intro, they get straight to the point. ‘White Rune’ is as good a statement as any by the band, betraying not only where the album is headed, but also a rich vein of musical heritage that unites the brevity of Wire with the mood of Joy Division and the impact of Gang of Four. At times it sounds like the whole thing might come crashing down around them, but the aural assault of ‘Total Drench’ or ‘Collapse’ have the surprising ability to morph from one thing into another, before reaching their natural, if chaotic, conclusion.
It should go without saying that there’s nothing particularly innovative about New Brigade. In fact, listening to a band that refuses to hold anything back is almost more of a thrill than the music they’re producing. That’s not to discount the almost preternatural skill of these four young Danes, who have found what they’re good at and stuck with it. But it seems almost as pointless to spill too much ink over an album that lasts less than 25 minutes as it does to suggest that this is the shape of punk to come.