Beyondless goes beyond expectations
The Danish punk rock, post-punk group Iceage have been around for a decade now. With their fourth studio album, Beyondless, the group has evolved, yet stayed true their sound showcased on their 2014 release Plowing Into The Field of Love.
The album begins with “Hurrah,” which starts with an Eastern fusion of sounds but cuts into some classic garage rock. It channels the Car Seat Headrest style as lead singer Elias Bender Rønnenfelt proclaims, “we’ll never stop killing, and we shouldn’t stop killing / Hurrah” in a stage of repetition.
“Pain Killer” is one of the more unique tracks, sporting a full horn section. This track also has background vocals from popular singer Sky Ferreira and their sort of duet during the chorus channels classic ‘90s bands like the Pixies or Silversun Pickups. It’s not the only song with horns, which is something unique to this genre of post-punk garage rock, but a great feature that follows on different tracks later such as “The day the music dies” and “Showtime.”
“Thieves like us” begins with a western cowboy type of guitar part. The whole track really transitions from a relaxing prance with Bender Rønnenfelt’s vocals leading the way. It eventually transitions into a full-on frenzy of mayhem and haunted vibes. The piano and deep strings creep into the track as the bass and drums continue to pick up. It’s one of the more ambitious tracks throughout Beyondless.
“Showtime” uses the horns to produce an almost circus-like sound in the middle of the song. It is almost Ween-esque in its random quirkiness – matching the “Showtime” title the track has. The final track “Beyondless” is one of the noisier tracks on the album. It starts with an almost, shoegazey riff that is swarmed in distortion and noise. This track explores the idea of not being the emotional backbone for someone else. Bender Rønnenfelt sings, “If you want to listen, hear the wind through my willows / If you want to cry, then cry at my feet / But if you think I am the pillar which you needed / Believe me dearest, it ain’t me.” It is one of the more emotional tracks and a great way to close the album out.
Overall, Beyondless is one of best post-punk albums released this year. It is beautifully produced, and takes its sound in many different directions, proving that Iceage still has the chops ten years after their debut.