Iceage - Youre Nothing 12 inch
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Prior to hearing New Brigade, few would be able to predict that the most abrasively honest punk rock album would be coming from four teens in Denmark. New Brigade was an exhilarating, bare-boned debut, accented by penetrating guitars, crashing drums, and the intense vocal groans of Elias Rønnenfelt. True to their music, Iceage have since avoided the luxuries and indulgences of international hype, opting to keep a low profile and perform short, bombastic live sets in small venues. It then came as a surprise that the band would be releasing its sophomore album, You’re Nothing, through Matador Records. But any doubts that may have surfaced from this logistic move –– that Iceage would lose the raw energy of their debut –– can now promptly shove it.
Post-punk is nothing new in the Iceage lexicon, but as You’re Nothing unfolds, it’s clear that it is more than just a musical description of the band. The aggressive indifference on New Brigade was best represented by Rønnenfelt’s blunt and unintelligible vocals, reinforcing a punk attitude on the album. The vocals on You’re Nothing, however, are much more emotive and indicative of a newfound acknowledgement of the singer’s vulnerability as a frontman. The result is anything but sappy; much like post-punk greats Joy Division (probably the source of the band’s name), Rønnenfelt’s expression of his insecurity, with lyrics now intelligible to the ear, speaks more to the contemptible state of culture within than to self-important melancholy.