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Iceage - Seek Shelter Music Album Reviews

Iceage - Seek Shelter Music Album Reviews
With production by Peter Kember and an added gospel choir, the Danish band’s fifth album completes their transformation from grim-faced nihilists to wearied soothsayers.

Iceage barrelled into the pit on their 2011 debut, New Brigade, like a band disgusted with the idea of creation itself, as embodied by a death-staring frontman—Elias Rønnenfelt—who delivered his manifestos as if spitting out the last remnants of puke in his mouth. In the decade since, they’ve undergone a metamorphosis even more surprising than their fellow gutter-dwellers the Men (who turned into Wilco) or the Horrors (who became Simple Minds): They’ve embraced the light, one creeping step at a time, and on Seek Shelter, they complete their transformation from grim-faced nihilists to wearied soothsayers, gospel choirs and all.

Tapping the production expertise of fuzz guru Peter Kember (Spacemen 3, Sonic Boom) and bolstering their lineup with an additional guitarist (Casper Morilla Fernandez), Iceage stretch out in ways that would’ve been nigh unimaginable for this band three years ago, let alone 10. Even as Plowing Into the Field of Love and Beyondless embellished Iceage’s attack with brass and strings, Rønnenfelt still embraced the role of bedraggled punk raconteur, with the ravaged voice of someone who’d been to the dark side and barely lived to tell. The singer who greets us on Seek Shelter’s rousing opener, “Shelter Song,” is practically unrecognizable by comparison, displaying newfound melodic grace as he offers words of comfort for the downtrodden. When the Lisboa Gospel Collective joins him on the exhausted, triumphant chorus (“Come lay here right beside me/They kick you when you’re up, they knock you when you’re down”), the song soars into a Glastonbury-sized anthem.

But as much as it draws on familiar influences of classic rock and Britpop, Seek Shelter is hardly the sound of a band settling into their Jools Holland years. The strobe-lit shuffle of “Vendetta” drops them in the middle of Madchester circa 1989, but the song is less an invitation to get lost on the Hacienda dancefloor than an account of the shady dealings going down in the back alley. By contrast, the spectacular “Gold City” imagines Nick Cave hanging out on E Street, outfitting its piano-powered “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” strut with impressionistic lyrics that, depending on your vantage, scan as either heartland reveries and apocalyptic premonitions.

For Iceage, Cave is not only the ideal model of a former punk nihilist turned dignified elder rock statesman, but also a useful guide in matters of faith. Beyond the gospel choir, Seek Shelter is awash in religious symbolism, which isn’t an entirely new look for a group led by a lapsed Bible student, but here the band seems more interested in veneration than subversion. As Rønnenfelt recently explained to Pitchfork, “Whether it’s religion or any kind of thinking that wants to make sense of things in a way that’s beyond the laws of the concrete—that’s a very basic human need, and I don’t think it is to be shunned.” And so “High & Hurt” stages a battle between the dirty and divine, answering gritty verses with a cloud-parting chorus that quotes the traditional hymn “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?” (which was, perhaps not coincidentally, also once half-covered by Kember’s old band). “Dear Saint Cecilia” salutes the patron saint of music through another act of worship—a reverential, open-road rocker that sounds like Definitely Maybe-era Oasis jamming on the riff to Booker T. & the MGs’ “Time Is Tight.”

Seek Shelter also reaffirms Rønnenfelt’s transformation into a true romantic, one who can convey the hot-blooded rush of desire without succumbing to the sentimental aftertaste. He pirouettes through the precarious chamber pop of “Love Kills Slowly” with the confidence of a red-wine drinker dancing on white carpet and channels the 1930s jazz standard “All of Me” on “Drink Rain,” delivering its grey-skied salutations (“I drink rain/To get closer to you!”) like a goth Ray Davies. For many once-unruly rock’n’roll bands, the shift to writing love songs is a tell-tale sign of maturation (if not outright stagnation), but even at its most sophisticated, Seek Shelter retains Iceage’s restless spirit. The album closer, “The Holding Hand,” is at once its slowest and most agitated track, a seasick spiritual whose crashing riffs and sinister orchestration hit like slow-motion tidal waves. “And we row, on we go, through these murky water bodies,” Rønnenfelt sings, “Little known, little shown, just a distant call of sound.” The future is uncertain; the beyondless beckons once again.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Iceage - Seek Shelter Music Album Reviews Iceage - Seek Shelter Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Friday, May 14, 2021 Rating: 5

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