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Live Review: Iceage
Music editor Kieran Read reviews Iceage's murky, raucous and inconsistent recent performance at Birmingham's Hare & Hounds
Iceage boast an interesting position within punk and indie culture, tethered to both genres relatively equally, though rarely at the same time. The Copenhagen four piece’s latest output, this year’s Beyondless, is the outfit’s most triumphant and accessible yet, a condensed, smoothed-out refinement of the group’s dark sound that falls slightly short of capturing the thrilling rawness of their earlier records. Though undoubtedly captivating, Beyondless is stylistic evolution into territories decidedly less frantic, stepping away from a sound in which the group once thrived.
“When at their most melodic or most unflinching, the performance would hit it's greatest highs
Their latest balancing act of controlled chaos, where each track is tackled with a different ratio of catchy hooks to distorted noise, translated mostly well. When at their most melodic (such as Beyondless hit ‘Pain Killer’ and set closer ‘Catch It’) or most unflinching (cuts like You’re Nothing’s ‘Ecstasy’), the performance would hit it's greatest highs, however. I suppose the greatest hindrance of Iceage’s set was, in fact, the material they played; Beyondless’ relative safeness throughout it’s non-standout tracks proved not quite captivating enough to maintain the momentum.
“It was hard to shake the feeling that they were much larger than this all
It’s a shame that the culmination of this talent would come primarily in the form of songs that confined such excellence. With little crowd interaction, Iceage would leave the stage not long after they graced it. Throughout, it was hard to shake the feeling that they were much larger than this all, that their elusiveness and critical idolisation engulfed the scenario. I left with appreciation for the band, an acceptance that, despite being caught in a stylistic shift that is both less immediate than New Brigade and less intricate than Plowing Into the Field of Love, they are front runners to their respective genre. Iceage remain essential even when at their least enthralling.
'Beyondless' is available now via Matador. Iceage tour Europe in the upcoming months. Tickets are available here.