Iceage have returned with their third album to date, Seek Shelter. Proclaimed by many as one of the more enigmatic groups dwelling in the alt-rock scene, Iceage have sustained themselves over the years with a myriad of genre-bending material twinned with an unhinged live show. With this new record, there are still fragments of the “good old days” to be heard and realised.
Within Iceage there has always existed a nervousness, an anxiousness that never feels miles away from implosion. It echoes throughout the loose instrumentals, but it’s at its clearest in singer Elias Ronnenfelt’s overarching, fragile brood. With lead single ‘Gold City’, we’re met with the same clinging catharsis as modern classic ‘Against The Moon’, yet with a blues influence that boils above the surface into view.
Through Seek Shelter, Iceage seesaw between swollen blues and calculated, cautious anthems, both of which assert themselves but don’t grip. Opener, ‘Shelter Song’ is very intricate and pretty, but nevertheless introduces us to many of this albums compromises. With a choir in support of Ronnenfelt’s steady solemnity, we’re greeted with moments of old Iceage, but plucked from an arrangement that seems a little distracted with the euphoria of a grand production.
Across the album’s nine tracks, we’re met with an eclectic range of instrumentation. Whether it be the chimes of ‘The Holding Hand’ or the swung percussion of ‘Vendetta’, this album has an array of instruments which are sometimes needed and beautifully articulated, but at other times seem to distort the direction of the composition.
Production on Seek Selter comes from Sonic Boom (Pete Kember of Spaceman 3), the band’s “first outside producer”. Iceage have never been the band to settle into any sort of sonic mould, and the outside influence of Kember has kept that non-conformist spirit alive. ‘Drink Rain’, for example, embarks on an entirely new branch to the rest of the band’s discography, with a chugging piano and a provocative melodic arrangement that swings like a pendulum between happy and sad. Throughout ‘Drink Rain’ is a prominent 70s Kinks / Stranglers influence, making for one of the more interesting moments on the album.
Reflecting on the band’s third album singer Ronnenfelt comments: “At home and enraptured in the fleeting moment, the sky becomes technicolour in its makeshift lucidity. A culmination made so that everything felt briefly complete. Traffic lights and the setting sun through a polluted filter, shimmering and golden.” Emerging from a year without shows and exploring unknown avenues of sound, this might just be Iceage’s most adventurous work to date.
Iceage’s Seek Shelter is available to download and stream now