Iceage is Elias Bender Rønnenfelt, Dan Kjær Nielsen, Johan Suurballe Wieth, and Jakob Tvilling Pless. Beyondless, Iceage’s fourth record (and first that was recorded all-analog), was produced by the band and Nis Bysted, recorded by Mattias Glavå at Kungsten Studios Göteberg, and mixed by Randall Dunn at Avast Studios Seattle. The album was played entirely by the band with additional performances by Nils Gröndhal (violin), horns by Kasper Tranberg (trumpet), Lars Greve (saxophones) and Morten Jessen (trombone), and vocals on “Pain Killer” by Sky Ferreira.
Below please find further words on this moving, majestic new album and its nuanced craftsmanship from Daniel Stewart (Total Control) and Richard Hell.
The beauty of a moral act depends on the beauty of its expression. To say that it is beautiful is to decide that it will be so. It remains to be proved so. This is the task of images, that is, of the correspondences with the physical world. The act is beautiful if it provokes, and in our throat reveals, song. Sometimes the consciousness with which we have pondered a reputedly vile act, the power of expression which must signify it, impels us to song. This means that treachery is beautiful if it makes us sing.
-Genet, A Thiefs Journal
Beyondless is the 4th LP from Iceage. This record radiates joy.
Pay attention to the journey, from New Brigade, a juvenile delinquent take on post-punk, full of cold, distant condemnation, and onto the ecstasy of You’re Nothing, shedding the more aggressive hardcore influence and dragging in more light, a tendency followed on Plowing Into The Field Of Love. The intoxication is consistent, this has always been drunk music, but it’s less a stumbling confusion and more a sturdy heartfelt confession with each record. They have finally caught up with their ambition. Their entire charm has always rested in their running ahead of themselves with blind confidence, taunting you to follow and you follow because wherever they are going is vital, is alive; on Beyondless they are treading with an assurance that is disarming, but there is no loss of charm, you are arm in arm now, whispering intimacies.
Intimacies that recall other intimacies: something must have happened when Iceage heard Gun Club Miami. Some traumatic event! A wild band has not been tamed, but is in repose, retaining an edge but expressing something less definite, something about hurt or longing or regret.
Attention must be directed toward the brilliance of EBR’s lyricism on Beyondless! In his evocations of beauty in profane imagery, in his plumbing of the depths of betrayal and criminality, there are suggestions of Jean Genet and the disgraceful slurring of Leonard Cohen.
Love’s Forever Changes is an appropriate reference point for the record, orchestral touches to rock music that reached in a very affected / effected manner toward some transcendent experience. You can hear blissful catatonic evocations of the Waterboys, slurring face down on the bar some holy affirmations. Overall, the strongest suggestion is of the Stones in their Exile period, holed up in some decadent mansion attempting to pay tribute to American music from country honk brawls to sleazy soul revues to cocaine blues, it has this confident air of music written in the midst of excessive reveries.
Letting in the light, the joy radiates. They are post post-punk, Beyondless retains the rich character of their brash beginnings, but this is something beyond, oh hell, this is something very, very special, a generous gift for an anemic age.
-Daniel Stewart (Total Control)