The Danish punk outfit, Iceage, return with a less chaotic, more constructed, and way more sadistic third album, Plowing Into the Field of Love. With the release of their first and rather off-putting single, “The Lord’s Favorite,” it’s obvious that Iceage is taking on a new terrain of sounds with full force. For a post-punk band to use pianos and a southern twang in their rhythms, you’d expect people to allude to a band “selling-out” or altering their voice too much, but, for some reason, it all fits.
Mixing love, sex, and relationships with destruction and alcohol-induced fights, Iceage have found a complex, relatable, and overall deeply emotional remedy. Perhaps the Beyonce reference of “Drunk in Love” is applicable to the tone of the album or rather “Drunken Love” is more appropriate. Singer Elias Bender Rønnenfelt slurs his words, exudes dry coughing fits, and strains his voice to the point where you can hear the skin fibers on his vocal chords tearing ever so slightly. You can practically picture him drenched in sweat, reeking of scotch, glossy half-closed stagnant eyes, hunched over, fumbling around on stage, and I want to be up front drunkenly shouting right back at him.
Throughout the album, there is a theme of feeling incomplete or detached. In “Glassy Eyed, Dormant, and Veiled,” Rønnenfelt sings “A myriad of maladies/ Incomplete identity / Hunger for the love I never gave.” Plowing Into the Field of Love is as much about love as it is about the lack of love. In “Forever,” he even opens up with the lyric “I always had the sense that I was split in two.” Rønnenfelt is at fault with himself, longing for a sense of completion, for a sense of love, that will never come.
One of the most intriguing aspects of Plowing Into the Field of Love isn’t necessarily the loudest moments. In the downtimes, there is rich pain, agony, and a sense of defeat. Even when he sings about being “The lord’s favorite one” or “The second coming,” we know he’s in a fragile state of collapse. In “Abundant Living,” Rønnenfelt recognizes this, but invites his audience to come along for the ride: “And when I fall/ I’ll bring it all/ Down here with me/ Soaked in alcohol.”