You're Nothing

Written by: PP on 10/03/2013 00:22:09

Iceage are not a punk band, unless you disregard every release ever by Epitaph, Fat Wreck Chords, No Sleep Records, Asian Man Records, Chunksaah Records, No Idea Records, SideOneDummy Records, Jade Tree, which came to shape the genre significantly from its 70s origins throughout the 90s and the early 2000s. Bla bla bla. Now that the mandatory bs is out the way, we can start discussing why I hate "You're Nothing", the sophomore album by the ridiculously hyped Copenhagen-based post-punk band. I hate it because I love it. I hate it because it's fucking good. I hate it because I really want to destroy this record in my review, but I cannot do so without obliterating every last bit of objectivity my jaded journalistic mind has left within.

*gasp* "You're Nothing" is worth every ounce of the hype it has been receiving in the last month or so.

Those of you who have been reading in the past, or have had this discussion with me in a drunken haze, know the difficulty I have in admitting that. But it's true. It's the most authentic, most unique rendition of the original punk spirit I've heard on record in a long while, and it achieves that without sounding at all dated. It's a noisy, garage-ish record that swings liberally between post-punk, 70s punk in the vein of Sex Pistols, and even garage rock at times, resulting in a claustrophobic, confined expression much like their debut album "New Brigade" had to offer. Except where that album reeked of Joy Division worship, here iceage have created a distinct identity of their own, a frenzied, unpredictable chaos that keeps the listener on their toes the whole time, yet there's a red thread that barely holds the album together in a singular sound. There are moments of classical piano intertwined with off-tune vocals and echoing guitars, and the next moment you're thrown straight into twisted 70s punk melodies encompassed in a feeling that nobody really knows how to play their instruments or what is actually going on in the soundscape at all.

It shouldn't work on paper. It doesn't make any sense strictly sonically speaking. But it has been deliberately created in this way, and subsequently has a certain charm and a degree of pretentiousness that gives more ammunition to the critics. But it also ensures that iceage have crafted a sound that they can proudly call their own, because nobody else sounds like this right now. It's a sloppy, oddly twisted sound, but as album highlight "In Haze" so well demonstrates, it can also be infectious and memorable. You'll recognize bits and pieces of Sonic Youth, Hüsker Dü, Joy Division and others from time to time, but there's no way around it. "You're Nothing" sounds like iceage, and no-one else. There is an argument to be had for an 8.5 here, but in all honesty, there's a limit to what I'm willing to admit in a public setting.


Download: In Haze, Awake, Ecstasy, Burning Hand, Morals,
For the fans of: Joy Division, Sex Pistols, Hüsker Dü, Sonic Youth
Listen: Facebook

Release date 19.02.2013
Matador Records

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