This young Danish punk band began turning heads outside Copenhagen in 2011 with an arrestingly urgent debut, "New Brigade," and chaotic live shows that seemed to result often in some kind of physical violence. Now signed to a high-profile American indie label, Iceage appears cognizant of the demand to regenerate that electricity on its second album. "Pressure, pressure / Oh God, no!," Elias Bender Ronnenfelt howls not long into "Ecstasy," which opens "You're Nothing" with a death-disco snarl; later, in "Coalition," he spits the word "excess" four times in a row, as though warding off the threat of a complacent sophomore slump.
The incantation worked: Iceage still thrills here, hurtling through tangled, fuzzed-out hard-core jams that rarely stretch past the three-minute mark. Yet Ronnenfelt and his band mates haven't passed up the opportunity, so juicy on an anticipated follow-up, to deepen their sound. In "Wounded Hearts" they brandish a naggingly catchy melodic hook, while the shifting tempo of "In Haze" demonstrates that Iceage's rhythm section can do more than gallop. And with "Morals" Iceage has produced what feels like its version of a ballad, complete with plaintive piano and evocative lyrics about leaving one's body and bleeding into a lake.
Three stars (out of four)
Review: Pink at the Staples Center
Ed Sheeran knows what he wants: America
In hip-hop, violence is taking on a diminishing role