Words About Music
Iceage “Plowing Into the Field of Love”
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. It’s barely been two years since Iceage’s last full length album, the excellent post-punksterpiece that is “You’re Nothing,” which itself came barely two years after their phenomenal 2011 debut “New Brigade.” It’s not in a post-punk band’s best interest to change up their style entirely and still create something nearly flawless. Yet, here we are. Iceage is a Danish post-punk quartet made up of geniuses in their early 20s. “Plowing Into the Field of Love” is their third album, and it’s nearly as long as their first two albums combined. What were once two-minute dark-punk tracks have been replaced with five-minute country-punk jams. Just look at “The Lord’s Favorite,” for example. That’s definitely a bluegrass chord progression, and there is quite a bit of snare work during the verses. It sounds like if Shane MacGowan wrote a country song. “Plowing Into the Field of Love” is the riskiest thing Iceage has ever done, and they didn’t even need to do it.
Fortunately for us, this album is possibly better than the first two. Post-punk is nice, but it’s rare that a post-punk band can keep the momentum and acclaim going for more than one album. Iceage is lucky to have two great post-punk albums under its belt. Now they’ve gone and thrown that formula away entirely for a 50-minute album that completely undoes what they’d done before. There are pianos, trumpets, and string arrangements on this album! Surprise aside, “Plowing” is a wholly amazing album. It’s one climactic rock song after the next. It’s Iceage’s version of “The Suburbs,” yet it still retains the atmosphere of the previous two albums.
What’s even more important is that there’s not a single bad song on this album. It’s highly ambitious, but also sloppy enough to meet the requirements for “punk.” If anything, this is the most punk album of the decade so far. Rather than let themselves succumb to the fate of prolific but most forgettable bands like The Fall, Iceage decided to reinvent themselves. They’re less Joy Division and more Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. This is the most creative and welcome change of pace I didn’t even know I wanted from a band. And here I was when this album was announced, worried that Iceage was going to fall out of my favor with yet another post-punk album.
“Plowing Into the Field of Love” is one of the year’s best albums. It stands out as a highly ambitious record that shows just what we can expect from Iceage in the future. The bar is set high, but if any band is up to the task of exceeding it, it’s Iceage. The band is very well on its way to being among the best of all time, and I wouldn’t disagree with anyone who included them on that list today. This album is a revolution that Iceage may very well toss next time they record. They could blow my mind even further next year or the year after. But for now, I’ll sit comfortably in my chair, content with the fact that this band is going to consistently rock hard for a while.
SCORE – 9.5
FAVORITE TRACKS – all of them tbh