It's become a fad in music nowadays that the ineffably bizarre and mindbogglingly unconventional is cause for not only praise, but for hyperbolic claim of artistic revolution. Rarely, however, do this outwardly strange albums ever amount to anything more than a flash in the pan, and that for every WU LYF, we receive ten forgettable works that amount to very little. However, Iceage's debut, New Brigade teeters on either side of both camps, creating an interesting, and wholly fun album, whilst not really achieving much else at all.
To put it plainly, New Brigade is a solid post-punk/indie recording, and it achieves just about everything it set out to do: create a modest chaos forged from thoughtful musicianship. It feels very early nine-tees at its core, giving off a raw, yet "we don't really give a damn" sort of energy. Because of this the album coasts along rather seamlessly with a languid, earthy vibe.
However, Iceage just can't keep the energy palpable, nor the intrigue engrossing, as New Brigade as a whole is very, very flat. Neither the vocalist, nor the instrumentalists come off as wholly evocative, with the musicianship having a very drab pallor. The songs bleed together, so much that after multiple listens this reviewer still cannot differentiate between songs. Seriously, each track runs at about two-minutes or less, consisting of the same hooks, same monotonous vocals, and same questionable production. It all sounds fairly decent, but the replay value proves fairly low when taking into consideration the lack of any real standout. This is truly New Brigade's biggest flaw.
New Brigade isn't terrible by any stretch of the imagination, and it will find its audience, as it has begun to slowly make its way through the indie community. Regardless, it can't be helped to think that there's more to Iceage than what is displayed in their debut. It's clear that the band has potential, as glimmers of brilliance poke their heads of every so often. That being said, the band really needs to iron out some kinks and find their voice before this reviewer is convinced they're worthy of the acclaim they've thus received.
2. White Rune
3. New Brigade
5. Rotting Heights
6. Total Drench
7. Broke Bone
10. Count Me In
11. Never Return
12. You're Blessed