On ‘Seek Shelter’, Iceage Finally Succumb To Eclectic Stylistic Impulses (ALBUM REVIEW)

Iceage has never had a formula, a rarity for most bands dabbling in post-punk these days. Instead, the Copenhagen quartet has pushed themselves to be more adventurous on each release, stubbornly insisting on distancing themselves from the sound that made them famous. In the process, the band has released four critically acclaimed albums, each record better than the one that preceded it. 

Their newest album, Seek Shelter, is no outlier. While critics will remain divided over how well it holds up to 2018’s stellar Beyondless, it’s undeniable the band has found itself in exciting new territory. A stylistic pivot is more than just well-earned, it’s necessary to keep Iceage fresh. Beyondless had found the band taking their punk roots to the farthest extreme, making the most of their established sound but also taking it as far as it could seemingly go. Seek Shelter, on the other hand, finds its influence in much broader territory, the first record that sounds far removed from the cold Danish inner cities and instead allowing singer Elias Bender Rønnenfelt to filter his innate charisma into a surprisingly convincing California swagger.

With less of the relentless energy and brooding drama of their earlier releases, the band makes up for it in sheer eclecticism. On past albums, Iceage had found a few excuses to incorporate country and psych-rock into their more defined sound, but on Seek Shelter, the band is happy to finally succumb to whatever stylistic impulse strikes them. Throughout the album, whether it’s “Seek Shelter”’s take on operatic Brit-pop, the spiritual “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” finding its way into rocker “High & Hurt” or the Donovan psych-out of “Vendetta” Iceage find genuinely exciting methods of exercising their inspiration and demonstrating their willingness to distinguish themselves.

Seek Shelter finds its success, not in the unabashed vibrancy of the performances, as was the case on the previous Iceage albums, but in the band’s need to experiment farther more than they ever have before. Much of this could be due to producer Sonic Boom taking the reins away from the group, allowing them to latch onto his Spacemen 3 influence, but mostly this is due to the band exhausting their previous sound and on Seek Shelter, finding about nine new ones.

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