Outside the old Church on York after Haxan Cloak and Pharmakon played, I spoke with Elias of Iceage about the nature of punk rock and growth. We were trading back and forth hearsay stories about Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, and other female vocalist icons of when the world was filmed in black and white. He was saying how he had lost interest in punk and industrial, and I could see that. There's nothing quite like repetition to beat your brow into boredom. The definition of insanity is doing something over and over and expecting a different outcome. But things do lose magic as they become familiar. Endings do change. And we're all still insane.
I got to hear the new Iceage songs live a couple times both in Los Angeles and in Chicago so I knew that I liked what I heard. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds are one of my all-time favorite bands and the four good ol' Danes of Iceage have done some seriously uncanny channeling here. And it still sounds unhinged as fuck, which is exactly why you listen to or see Iceage to begin wit, but there's a new complexity to the lyrics and the song structures here. It's not verse-chorus-verse-chorus like you might expect from a punk band new to more polished songwriting, but there are instrumental breaks, bridges, zones, and more within these twelve new songs the shortest of which is 2:31, which may have been considered a long Iceage song before this album.
The musicianship and orchestration of the band is new too. What had been hinted on the piano playing of "morals" has become full-fleshed out in more than one of the songs here. The singing is dynamic. And The lyrics are fucking great! Check 'em out when they play The Empty Bottle because the next time they come through, they will not be playing in such an intimate setting.