“Some might question why you would feed an animal with champagne,” Elias Bender Rønnenfelt sings on title track “Plowing Into the Field of Love,” off Iceage’s doozy of a third album. 15 songs full of frustration, desire, classical references, and mythological symbolism channel all the tumultuous energy of their past releases, and refines it into an intense account of what happens when a band who lives in darkness as much as Iceage gets all the spotlights turned bright on them.
On this record, Elias’ vocals are at the forefront more than ever, unveiled and raw, and fuller of emotion than he would ever show on his face. Below the surface of the ice, there’s not much keep him afloat, as he sings on single “Forever,” a track that explores the duality of human nature. “I’d always had the sense / that I was split in two,” he begins, and as the musical waves start crashing harder from Johan Suurballe-Wieth's biting guitar and Jacob Tvilling Pless and Dan Kjær Nielsen’s pounding grooves, he starts to repeat with more and more fever, “If I could dive into the other / like it was an ocean / caressed by it’s waters / I’d lose myself forever.”
Iceage switches up musical styles with a broadened spectrum from one song to the next, such as the old school country blues rollicking along of “The Lord’s Favorite,” that is both dark and quick-witted. No doubt the reception of everything Iceage has done so far has conditioned them to feel like they can do and have whatever they desire. When you’re treated like God’s favorite, you’re invincible. Elias sounds cocky here with his exaggerated slurring bravado, but the thing is, he’s right. In “How Many” he acknowledges the incentive of success and recognition: “I have a sense of Utopia…is it really any wonder that I’m here like this.”
At the same time, the band isn’t completely letting themselves go. Their music is still art; a sacred thing to them, which is being bought and sold like “Simony,” but they also know this is also how they are able to keep making their art exclusively, and how they are able to live their life the way they want to live. It’s no wonder that with dealing with all of the bullshit that comes with that would give them an attitude of “Whatever I do, I do not repent / I keep pissing against the moon,” Elias growls in a ballad of no apologies.
With this new record, Iceage is plowing into the field of love for themselves. Not blindly, and not without reflection, but with an embraced resolve to forge on ahead. As Elias’ words explode from the depths of his “Glassy Eyed, Dormant, and Veiled” exterior, “like a feral horse who will gallop to its death.”
Plowing Into The Field of Love is out today on Matador.